Atlanta kicked out of playoffs

Bryant atones for earlier miss in overtime

Tampa Bay ties Carolina for 1st in NFC South

Buccaneers 27 Falcons 24

Nfl Week 16

December 25, 2005

TAMPA, Fla. -- For Matt Bryant, it wasn't difficult to shrug off missing a potential game-winning field goal in overtime. He figured the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would give him a chance to redeem himself.

Or so he said.

"We're not going to give up. It doesn't matter. We'll take on the world. We've been doing it from the beginning," the jubilant kicker said yesterday after redeeming himself by making a 41-yard field goal to beat Atlanta, 27-24.

It nudged the Bucs closer to their first playoff berth since they won the Super Bowl three seasons ago and eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs.

"The world picked us not to be very good and we've managed to prove the world wrong quite a few times," Bryant added. "We've just got to do it one more time to get to the playoffs."

The Bucs (10-5) also gained a share of first place in the NFC South heading into the final week of the season. They're tied with Carolina, which lost to Dallas, and can win the division with a victory over New Orleans at home next week.

NFC information manager Michael Signora confirmed that Atlanta (8-7), which hosts Carolina next week, had been eliminated. After the game, team spokesman Reggie Roberts said the Falcons were still alive but would need to beat the Panthers and gets lots of help from other teams to earn a wild-card spot.

The Bucs and Falcons both wasted opportunities to win in the extra period. Atlanta's Todd Peterson had a 28-yarder blocked after Tampa fumbled on the overtime kickoff and Bryant shanked a 27-yarder that would have won it six minutes later.

"To have the kick blocked, it kind of put everything into perspective - like maybe it just ain't our year. Things are not going the right way for us," Falcons quarterback Michael Vick said.

Chris Simms threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns and Carnell Williams ran for 150 yards to go over 1,000 for the season, including a 6-yard burst that tied the game at 24 in the closing seconds of regulation.

Vick threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns and looked like he might conquer the Bucs' defense when he led a 79-yard drive to put the Falcons ahead 24-17 on T.J. Duckett's 2-yard run.

Atlanta 7 10 0 7 0 - 24

Tampa Bay 7 7 0 10 3 - 27

First quarter Atl-Griffith 4 pass from Vick (Peterson kick), 3:27. TB-Cook 9 pass from Simms (Bryant kick), :20.

Second quarter TB-Alstott 13 pass from Simms (Bryant kick), 12:50. Atl-Jenkins 8 pass from Vick (Peterson kick), 3:19. Atl-FG Peterson 31, :09.

Fourth quarter TB-FG Bryant 50, 9:01. Atl-Duckett 2 run (Peterson kick), 4:18. TB-C.Williams 6 run (Bryant kick), :25.

Overtime TB-FG Bryant 41, :15. A-65,482.

Atl TB

First downs 19 30

Total Net Yards 281 444

Rushes-yards 36-154 37-174

Passing 127 270

Punt Returns 1-8 6-55

Kickoff Returns 5-104 6-121

Interceptions Ret. 2-82 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 16-26-0 29-42-2

Sacked-Yards Lost 4-34 2-15

Punts 7-44.9 5-43.2

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1

Penalties-Yards 7-85 8-107

Time of Possession 33:39 41:06 Rushing-Atlanta, Vick 11-63, Dunn 14-59, Duckett 11-32. Tampa Bay, C.Williams 31-150, Pittman 4-17, Alstott 1-5, Simms 1-2. Passing-Atlanta, Vick 16-26-0-161. Tampa Bay, Simms 29-42-2-285. Receiving-Atlanta, Crumpler 4-63, Jenkins 4-54, R.White 3-31, Griffith 2-4, Dunn 1-5, Finneran 1-4, McCrary 1-0. Tampa Bay, Galloway 8-97, A.Smith 8-75, Pittman 4-17, Alstott 3-32, Becht 2-28, Clayton 1-11, C.Williams 1-10, Cook 1-9, Hilliard 1-6. Missed field goals-Atlanta, Peterson 28 (BK). Tampa Bay, Bryant 27 (WL).

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