TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons is hit by Brian Price #92 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Upon Further Review takes the final look at the Week 3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers' victory over the Atlanta Falcons
Each week SBNation Tampa Bay is Upon Further Review - where we go back and watch the TV Feed and try to glean a few more details you might have missed the first time through the game.
Let's face it - during the football game your eye is on the football, wondering what will happen next and who will make the big play. Once the game is over and you go back to review the game, you can actually analyze it with a much more critical eye and perhaps see things that in your emotion and excitement you might have missed the first time around.
Josh Freeman's decision making is definitely a concern
We all know and realize Josh hasn't been the FIVE we know and love from last season. He's been hesitant, his footwork has been lax and he's been high on his throws. One of the most disappointing things about Freeman's play this season has been his decision making - especially in the red zone.
In each game this season, Tampa Bay has seen red zone opportunities foiled due to Freeman interceptions. In each instance, Freeman delivered the ball late and it ended up in the defender's hands.
We're not going to come after Josh too hard, though. Freeman made so many plays in some of the key moments of Falcons' game to keep drives moving that ended up in points for the Buccaneers.
Freeman is also completing 67% of his passes this season, a career best. We knew there would be areas that would hurt the Bucs more than most teams in the NFL. It definitely appears that Josh Freeman could have used those extra reps during the off-season to polish his fundamentals.
Pressure From the Bucs' Defensive Line was Outstanding
The game was won on the line of scrimmage and Tampa Bay's defensive line was simply dominant. Both Gerald McCoy and Brian Price wreaked havoc in the interior giving little room for Michael Turner to run while forcing the stoic Matt Ryan to have to move. Adrian Clayborn, Michael Bennett and Dekota Watson all had excellent edge pressure as well.
Ryan may have managed to throw for over 300 yards but he physically paid the price for every throw.
It was the first time this season the Bucs had the opportunity to display their new improved pass rush. In Week One, Detroit spread out the Bucs' defense and used three step drops to keep the heat off their quarterback. Minnesota rolled out their mobile quarterback Donovan McNabb to minimize the Bucs' rush. Atlanta had Ryan in five to seven step drops and the Bucs finally had their chances to get heat on the quarterback.
The Bucs Played "Yasty"
Raheem Morris had a caller to his Monday radio show who articulated better than we ever could. He made a play on Morris' "Youngry" term, coining the phrase "Yasty" while describing the Buc defense's play. "Yasty" as in "Young and Nasty". They certainly were that on Sunday as some of the biggest hits of the season were delivered.
On offense, LeGarrette Blount didn't have a big game numbers wise but he was a battering ram on the final drive of the football game.
Ronde Barber was simply brilliant
Ronde was all over the field on Sunday, intercepting a pass, recovering a fumble, hitting Michael Turner for a loss neutralizing Tony Gonzalez.
For his play, the Bucs' future Hall-of-Famer earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The Bucs desperately wanted this one.
All training camp coach Morris preached the importance of winning your division. To do that, you need to knock the king off the hill. Add to that the fact that Atlanta was dominating the series with five straight victories and the Buccaneers felt they should have won at least one, if not both, meetings last season.
From Freeman's bird dance (he claims it had nothing to do with the Falcons and he was mimicking a player's goal scoring dance in EA Sports' FIFA video game) to the aggressive hitting on defense to the show of relief on players' faces after Corey Peters jumped offsides to essentially end Atlanta's chances, the Bucs wanted this one like nobody's business.
You always want to hold serve at home within the division but it was definitely more than that for the Bucs. Had they let their victory slip away, it could have been devastating. Luckily for Tampa Bay fans, the Bucs got the win and are still in position to surpass the Falcons and take the NFC South for their own.
And with that, we move on to Monday Night Football and the Indianapolis Colts.