There may have been nothing to play for when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took to the field Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, however a 22-17 win did plenty to restore faith in the Buccaneers' fan base.
A big reason for the win was the play of quarterback Josh Freeman and running back Doug Martin. Freeman threw for 222 yards and a touchdown while Martin was able to accumulate 142 rushing yards.
Making the victory more impressive was the fact that the Falcons played their starters the entire game despite already locking up home-field advantage. The Bucs jumped out to a 16-3 lead which was cut down to 22-17 by the Matt Ryan led Falcons before a big stop on fourth down with two minutes to play clinched the win.
As the writers at Bucs Nation point out, seeing the team fight so hard for a victory in what was essentially a meaningless game after a rough stretch was encouraging.
"In the end, this game was meaningless. Nothing was at stake. But the Buccaneers did show that they weren't folding, that they still had a competitive team. In other words: they showed that despite a five-game losing streak, this is a different team from last year's."