There were plenty of costly Bucs mistakes in the first half in Atlanta today:
*Chandler Catanzaro's missed point-after kick.
*Jameis Winston's interception on a deep throw to DeSean Jackson.
*And on defense, where do we start? Here's the Times' Bucs coverage team's on the most important call, decision or play in the first half of a game that has Atlanta leading 24-13 to start the second half:
Hands to the face
Rick Stroud, beat writer: Trailing 7-6 in the first quarter, the Bucs looked to have forced a field goal as Matt Ryan's pass was dropped by running back Ito Smith on third and 11. But the Bucs were called for hands to the face, which brought and automatic first down. On the next play, Smith walked into the end zone for a touchdown. The penalty was called on Gerald McCoy, but replays clearly show it was William Gholston.
Contact Rick Stroud at [email protected] Follow @NFLStroud.
Don’t forget Brent Grimes getting lost
Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter: Two mistakes on third down led to Falcons touchdowns. On a third and 11, the Gholston illegal-use-of-hands call was costly. But on a third-and-7, Brent Grimes lost track of Julio Jones, allowing Jones to get open for a 28-yard gain. On the next play, Falcons tight end Austin Hooper scored a 9-yard touchdown.
Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.
Lavonte David’s no-call
Mike Sherman, sports editor: Let's go with one of the few bright spots for the Bucs, Lavonte David's crafty take down of Falcons running back Tevin Coleman. David was clearly beat in man coverage on third down deep in Atlanta territory when he appeared to trip and take Coleman down with him. In reality he grabbed Coleman's jersey with his right hand and dragged him down well enough to hide a holding call and automatic first down. Because Atlanta scored a touchdown on every possession it had time to score a touchdown on, that no-call ultimately made the difference between Falcons leads of 28-6 and 24-13. When you are as bad as the Bucs are on defense, you take what you can get away with.
Contact Mike Sherman at [email protected] Follow @mikesherman