Falcons see Bucs’ thwarted offer dashed in 48-25 4th loss

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – The Atlanta Falcons found themselves down three in the fourth quarter with a real chance to topple Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Those hopes were dashed in a disastrous final that saw the Bucs score 20 points in the final quarter en route to a 48-25 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.

“Everyone feels sick when you see that box score, but there were positives,” said first-year Falcons coach Arthur Smith.

After beating the Philadelphia Eagles 32-6 in the season opener a week ago, Atlanta (0-2) recovered from an 18-point deficit.

Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley and Cordarrelle Patterson before running for a 2-point conversion to make it 28-25 with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

The Falcons recovered the ball when they were 4 with 13 minutes left, a chance for a long lead. Instead, they failed to convert to a third and 13th inches. After a 33-yard punt, it took three plays before Tom Brady landed an 8-yard pass to Chris. Godwin and the Bucs advantage was 10.

“We got a three-point game, and we had some momentum, really,” said Ryan. “. They did a good job in the fourth quarter, putting us on the sidelines.

Tampa Bay sealed the deal with a pair of interception returns for touchdowns by Mike Edwards.

“It’s a message for our guys, our young guys,” Ryan said. “It can be frustrating, but it’s a lost opportunity if we don’t learn from it and fix it. The experience is great for everyone.

Ryan was 35 for 46 for 300 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Brady threw for 276 yards and five touchdowns, but Atlanta sometimes had a lot of pressure on the seven-time Super Bowl champion and finished with three sacks.

The Falcons will be looking to end a seven-game slippage against the New York Giants next Sunday.

Three of those losses came to the Bucs (2-0), who beat rivals NFC South 124-62 in the last 10 quarters of those outings.

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