ATLANTA -- Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed they can be a team on the rise in the NFC South.Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were stuck with another poor start in the division.The Buccaneers, who improved from two to six wins last season, opened their season with a crucial road win in the division by beating the Falcons 31-24 on Sunday.Winston, the second-year quarterback, was sharp as he threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns . The Falcons were unable to stop Winstons accurate scoring passes to wide receiver Mike Evans and tight ends Brandon Myers and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They were similarly flustered by running back Charles Sims cuts and spin on his 23-yard scoring pass from Winston.Lets do it 15 more times. This year, said first-year coach Dirk Koetter, whose rewards for winning his debut was a Gatorade bath and the game ball.Asked who presented the game ball, Koetter said Take a guess. No. 3.Winston is No. 3.It was a frustrating start for the Falcons, who were 1-5 against NFC South opponents in 2015, including 0-2 against Winston and the Buccaneers.Winston was the star, but the Buccaneers displayed balance. Doug Martin ran for 62 yards. Eight receivers caught passes.Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander and Robert Ayers Jr. led the defense with sacks. Tampa Bay limited Julio Jones to four catches for 66 yards, though Jones had a 25-yard scoring catch after the Buccaneers stretched their lead to 31-13.Atlantas comeback ended with Matt Bryants third field goal, a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter. The Falcons final possession ended at their 28.We had some opportunities but we just didnt make the plays and thats disappointing, said Ryan who completed 27 of 39 passes for 334 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.Tampa Bay held Atlanta to only 52 yards rushing, including 20 yards on 11 carries by Devonta Freeman.You cant say enough about Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, theyre great players, but you have to beat them as a team and thats what we did, said Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes. We played as a team, helping each other, played a good game and got out of here.---Here are some things we learned from the Buccaneers win over the Falcons:FALCONS FANTASY WATCH: Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman are the complements to Jones and Freeman, respectively, in Atlantas offense. They showed they could be more than afterthoughts in fantasy leagues.Sanu, signed from the Bengals to be Atlantas new No. 2 wide receiver, had five catches for 80 yards. He had a 59-yard catch and a 5-yard scoring catch in the first quarter.Coleman led Atlanta with his modest 22 yards rushing on eight carries and added five catches for 95 yards. The second-year running back showed his big-play potential with a 47-yard catch from Ryan, affirming expectations hell play a bigger role this season.CHEERS FOR WINSTON: Winston earned repeated compliments from his teammates, including center Joe Hawley, who began his career with Atlanta.Its not often that you have young guys like him with that kind of poise at such an important position with all the eyes on him, Hawley said. He really shows a lot of poise for such a young player.KOETTERS `WEIRD RETURN: Koetter was Atlantas offensive coordinator when Mike Smith was coach. He was promoted from coordinator to coach by Tampa Bay and then hired Smith as his defensive coordinator.Koetter said returning to the Georgia Dome as the visiting coach was weird -- a description he repeated.Its weird to see the people on the other side, Koetter said. It was weird last year and weird this year. Ive got a lot of respect for plenty of people in that organization but thats the nature of the NFL.NO SACKS: The Falcons may be tired of hearing they ranked last in the league with 19 sacks last season and have ranked no higher than 28th since 2012. The pass-rush woes continued as they were held without a sack by Tampa Bay.INJURY REPORT: Tampa Bay backup linebacker Jacquies Smith was carted to the locker room with a right knee injury and didnt return. He was hurt covering a punt in the first quarter. Atlanta defensive end Brooks Reed returned after leaving in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Reed left the field again in the fourth quarter.---AP NFL websites: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Charles Odum at www.twitter.com/CharlesOdum and http://bigstory.ap.org/content/charles-odum D.J. Augustin Jersey . -- Jacksonville wide receiver Cecil Shorts will likely be a game-time decision whether hell play Sunday in the Jaguars home game against the San Diego Chargers. Evan Fournier Magic Jersey . -- Ty Montgomery had 290 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, and fifth-ranked Stanford held on to beat No. http://www.magicauthentic.com/kids-jerian-grant-magic-jersey/ . He says so-called TRT is only one problem and he wants to go even further than the ban. "Its about time," St-Pierre told reporters at a promotional event in Montreal on Friday. "I think its a good thing. Evan Fournier Jersey . MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also will attend the session, which was announced Monday. The league has discussed placing its next two expansion teams in Miami and Atlanta. Melvin Frazier Magic Jersey . Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The 26-year-old finished last season with Clevelands Triple-A affiliate in Columbus after signing with the Indians in August.METAIRIE, La. -- Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has travelled to Philadelphia to have arthroscopic knee surgery, but how long hell be sidelined remains unclear, coach Sean Payton said Thursday night. "Well have him back and well kind of go from there," Payton said. The 31-year-old Vilma has had numerous surgeries on his left knee during the past two seasons. He missed five games in 2011 and started last season on the physically unable to perform list. However, Payton stopped short of saying he viewed Vilmas latest surgery as a setback. "This is a little different procedure, so well how he does when he gets back," the coach said. Vilma opened training camp working as a first-team middle linebacker in New Orleans 3-4 defence, but had missed a handful of practices lately. His absence will move veteran David Hawthorne, who was acquired as a free agent last season, up to the first team in advance of Friday nights preseason game against Oakland in the Superdome. Payton portrayed Vilmas absence during preseason as an opportunity to better evaluate other linebackers before coaches have to decide who to cut and who to keep as current 90-player roster is trimmed to 53 by the start of the regular season. "The most important thing is getting the chance to evaluate alll these players," Payton said.dddddddddddd"A guy like Jon Vilma, I know exactly what we have in that player. It gives us a chance to see not only Hawthorne more, but then if hes going earlier, the guys behind him are getting to play quicker, too." The 28-year-old Hawthorne started 10 games last season but was hampered by left knee and right hamstring injuries and said he is eager to show he can provide more support to his unit than he did a year ago. "I came here to play football and then when you get sidelined by injury after injury, it kind of gets you down, you know. You dont really know your place," Hawthorne said. "Thats kind of all behind me and Im feeling good and Im feeling healthy." Meanwhile, Curtis Lofton, the strong side middle linebacker, was absent from practice Thursday and Payton did not offer an explanation for that. Lofton practiced Wednesday without showing any apparent limitations. Ramon Humber worked in Loftons spot Thursday and sounded as if he expected more playing time against Oakland. "I definitely feel comfortable," Hawthorne said. "As a linebacker, you kind of have to learn the whole defensive system. You have to know what everybody is doing because youre the quarterback of the defence." ' ' '
jj009, 05.09.2019 08:21