Corey Peters makes most of his snaps

ATLANTA -- Lost in the hoopla surrounding record-setting nights by both Devin Hester and Matt Ryan was the outstanding performance by Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters.

In looking at the defensive snaps, Peters played 34 of the 60 possible snaps, or 57 percent. He ended up with a sack, four tackles for loss, and two quarterbacks hits in the Falcons' 56-14 thumping of the Buccaneers.

Remember, Peters returned on a one-year contract this season after tearing his Achilles last December. If he continues to dominate like he did Thursday night, he'll earn himself a nice payday sometime soon.

It's obvious Peters is over the frustration that came with the long recovery from a major injury. He's also much more motivated these days.

"I'm really enjoying the game much, much more than I have in the past," Peters said. "I think I was kind of taking it for granted. And when I got injured, I said that I would never do that again. I'm just enjoying it all, man."

Here are a few other highlights from the snap counts:

  • Rookie left tackle Jake Matthews played 50 snaps before he was pulled with the game well in hand. He returned to the lineup off a left ankle injury and made an obvious difference in terms of protecting Matt Ryan. And he showed no ill-effects from the injury.

  • Safety Kemal Ishmael played 34 of 60 defensive snaps as defensive coordinator Mike Nolan showed more of that three-safety look with William Moore, Dwight Lowery, and Ishmael. It obviously paid off as Ishmael had a pick-six.

  • Designated pass-rusher Osi Umenyiora played 28 snaps and had his most effective game of the season in terms of generating pressure. Peters credit Umenyiora for applying the pressure that led to his sack, while Ishmael also singled out Umenyiora's pressure on his interception and 23-yard touchdown. Umenyiora didn't get a sack but he was credited with his first quarterback hit of the season as the Falcons had seven quarterback hits.

  • Eric Weems played 33 snaps at receiver as Harry Douglas exited the game with a foot injury and did not return. Weems made some plays, too, finishing with four catches for 69 yards while being targeted five times, the second-most targets on the team behind Julio Jones (11).