What it means: The Bucs are for real and the Falcons might not be. Tampa Bay is 2-1 and tied with New Orleans atop the NFC South. Atlanta, a team many thought was a Super Bowl contender, is 1-2 and tied with the Carolina Panthers. It's still early and Atlanta's not that far behind in the division standings. But the Falcons have had some pretty big holes exposed and those problems could haunt them all season.
The streak is over: Tampa Bay snapped a five-game losing streak against the Falcons. The last time the Bucs beat Atlanta before Sunday was back when Jon Gruden was still Tampa Bay’s coach in 2008.
O-line woes: Even with center Todd McClure back in the lineup after missing the first two games with a knee injury, Atlanta’s offensive line continued to struggle. Quarterback Matt Ryan took another beating and there weren’t any holes for Michael Turner to run through.
Big day for the rookie: Tampa Bay middle linebacker Mason Foster wore the radio helmet and called the defensive plays because outside linebacker Quincy Black was out with an ankle injury. I don’t think Foster’s going to be giving up the radio helmet anytime soon. He was nearly flawless in running the defense. He also recorded a big third-quarter sack of Ryan.
What I didn’t like: For the second straight week, Atlanta went to the no-huddle offense in the fourth quarter. For the second straight week, the Falcons got positive results. It was just too little too late this time around. Ryan obviously thrives in a no-huddle offense. Why not just use it all the time or at least more often?
What’s next: The Bucs host the Indianapolis Colts in a "Monday Night Football" game on Oct. 3. At the moment, the game has not sold out. The Bucs have a string of 10 regular-season games, dating back to last season, that have been blacked out on local television because they haven’t sold out. Atlanta travels to Seattle next week.
I’ll be back with more after postgame interviews.