The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) traveled to Atlanta and beat the Falcons (13-3) 22-17. The Bucs handled the Falcons pretty easily and gained some self-respect heading into the off season. Even though the Falcons lost, they did not lose anything from this loss except for a little respect for themselves heading into the playoffs.
The one bright spot for the Falcons in this game was the 7 yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Harry Douglas. Not only was it the first touchdown reception for Harry Douglas this year, it was Matt Ryan's 32nd touchdown of the season. With that pass, Ryan broke a tie with Steve Bartkowski for most touchdowns in a single season by an Atlanta Falcons Quarterback.
Ryan has increased his production every year since being drafted 3rd overall by the Falcons. His touchdowns have increased from 16, 22, 28,29,and now 32 touchdowns. Along with that, Ryan owns records for most yards, win percentage and several others in only his 5th year. The only thing he has not done is win in the postseason. Hopefully that will change this year.
On a more dark side of the game against the Bucs are injuries. Both John Abraham and Dunta Robinson left the game with injuries. Robinson with a head injury and Abraham an ankle injury. These injuries will undoubtedly lead to questions about whether or not they should have been in the game. A game that did not mean anything in the sense of playoff placement. But it was a division rivalry and bragging rights were on the line. So this game did mean something to the players.
I personally would have played the starters to at least the beginning of the 4th quarter in order to keep them sharp. With the no. 1 seed, the Falcons will get a week off next week to recuperate.
In recent history, resting players has not paid off for no.1 seed players. Just look at the Packers from last season. They rested their players in week 17 and then got blown out in their first game in the game against the Giants. Just a little food for thought.