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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Championship

Jones' INT return in OT lifts Falcons over Bucs 28-22

Sun Dec 29 4:59pm ET
By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Cameron Brate, Mike Evans, Breshad Perriman, Jameis Winston, Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones II

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) sacks Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) celebrates with cornerback Carlton Davis (33) at Barrett sacked Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)


Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones (45) intercepts a pass by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston intended for tight end Cameron Brate (84) and returns it for the game-winning touchdown during the overtime of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones (45) intercepts a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate and returns it for the game-winning score in overtime of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a passagainst the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Deion Jones intercepted Jameis Winston on the first play of overtime and returned the ball 28 yards for a touchdown to give the Atlanta Falcons a 28-22 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Winston became the first Tampa Bay quarterback to pass for 5,000 yards in a season, but another non-playoff year ended on a sour note. The Falcons (7-9) tied the game with a field goal on the last play of regulation and won for the sixth time in eight games when Jones became the seventh opposing player to score on a pick-6 off Winston this season.

Matt Ryan completed 30 of 51 passes for 313 yards and one touchdown for the Falcons, who saved coach Dan Quinn's job by rebounding from a 1-7 start to go 6-2 over the second half of the season. Atlanta will finish second in the NFC South despite posting a losing record for the second year in a row.

Winston threw for 201 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, hiking his NFL-leading total to 30. Ronald Jones II had the first 100-yard rushing performance and Breshad Perriman topped 100-yards receiving for the third straight week for the Bucs (7-9), who miss the playoffs for the 12th consecutive year.

Ryan only got the Falcons into the end zone once, throwing a 35-yard TD pass to a wide- open Ty Sambrailo, a 6-foot-5, 311-pound backup offensive tackle. Younghoe Koo kicked field goals of 27, 33, 45, 42 and 33 yards, while his Bucs counterpart, Matt Gay, was 0 for 3 on field goal attempts.

Winston began the day leading the NFL in passing yards and finished with 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns - both franchise single-season records. He threw TD passes of 2 yards to Cameron Brate and 24 yards to Perriman to help the Bucs escape an early 10-0 hole.

Perriman, who stepped up in the absence of injured Pro Bowl receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, had five catches for 134 yards. Jones rushed for 106 yards on 11 attempts.

INJURIES

Falcons: Cornerback Kendall Sheffield (ankle) limped off in the second quarter and did not return.

Buccaneers: Godwin was inactive for the second straight week with a hamstring injury, finishing the season with career highs of 86 receptions for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. ... Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting left in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. ...Defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches (foot) left in the third quarter and did not return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: The Falcons announced earlier in the week that Quinn, who guided Atlanta to the Super Bowl three years ago, will return for a sixth season in 2020. General manager Thomas Dimitroff will keep his job, too, and assistant head coach Raheem Morris will take over responsibilities as defensive coordinator.

Buccaneers: The biggest offseason decision will be whether to retain Winston, who earned $20.9 million this season in the final year of the contract he signed as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. The Bucs have never signed one of their starting quarterbacks to a second contract. Coach Bruce Arians has said no decision on the fifth-year pro's future would be made until after the season.

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Player Notes
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Free-agent CB Tramon Williams (Ravens) worked out for the Green Bay Packers Wednesday, Jan. 20, and is expected to sign to either the practice squad or the 53-man roster.

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Larry Ogunjobi Jan 20 8:03pm ET

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Ronald Jones II Jan 20 6:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II (quadriceps) and wide receivers Mike Evans (knee) and Chris Godwin (quadriceps) were all limited participants during Wednesday's practice. Jones was able to practice in a limited fashion last week before ultimately suiting up against the Saints, while Evans' and Godwin's reps are being managed as precautions. Jones has a good matchup against Green Bay's front, though he and Leonard Fournette are trending towards a timeshare after head coach Bruce Arians described them as a "1-2 punch." Meanwhile, Evans will likely tango with star corner Jaire Alexander on the outside, as tough a matchup as any. Godwin is due for a rebound performance after dropping a surefire touchdown last week and could see more targets if Evans struggles and Antonio Brown (knee) is banged up.

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Lamar Jackson Jan 20 6:43pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is wanted on a long-term contract, according to head coach John Harbaugh Wednesday, Jan. 20. 'Absolutely, we want Lamar to sign a long-term deal and be with us,' Harbaugh said. 'I'm totally certain that's going to happen. When it happens, that's the details.'

Fantasy Spin: Harbaugh also said they aren't going to adjust the offense to be more pass-heavy. So long as Jackson is healthy, he'll be a top fantasy QB for the foreseeable future due to his added production on the ground.

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Ronald Jones II Jan 20 6:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (quadriceps) said Wednesday, Jan. 20, he already feels better than last week and he's all good for the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers.

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Antonio Brown Jan 20 6:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee) was listed as a non-participant for Wednesday's practice. Brown sustained the knee injury during the divisional-round win over the Saints, with Tampa Bay officially listing him as day-to-day. The veteran wideout will look to ramp up his activity during Thursday and Friday's sessions to give him a chance at suiting up against Green Bay in the NFC title game. Fellow wideouts Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson- who both made big plays in the victory over New Orleans- would be in line to receive more targets if Brown isn't healthy enough to play.

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Nickell Robey Jan 20 5:53pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles DB Nickell Robey-Coleman was removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Jan. 20.

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Jordan Wilkins Jan 20 5:43pm ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Jordan Wilkins was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Jan. 20.

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Mason Crosby Jan 20 5:33pm ET

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Chris Godwin Jan 20 5:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hip, quadriceps) was limited at practice Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Godwin caught four of seven targets but for just 34 yards against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round. The Buccaneers' passing game wasn't needed much as Tampa Bay operated from favorable field position for much of the game. Godwin, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown should all see more work against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship. Godwin is likely to see the most targets.

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Ronald Jones II Jan 20 5:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (finger, calf) was a limited participant at practice Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Jones ran 13 times for 62 yards against the New Orleans Saints last week after being considered questionable for most of the practice week. He should be more involved this week, but the game script isn't likely to be as favorable for the Bucs as it was in the NFC Divisional Round. Jones will be a touchdown-dependent fantasy FLEX option this week.

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Jason Pierre-Paul Jan 20 5:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 20. S Jordan Whitehead (knee) and CB Sean Murphy-Bunting (quadriceps, ankle) were limited. DL Jeremiah Ledbetter (calf) and G Ali Marpet (pectoral) practiced in full.

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Antonio Brown Jan 20 5:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Brown is expected to be fine in time for Sunday's NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers. He'll represent a contrarian pivot from either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin.

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Mike Evans Jan 20 5:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Evans didn't practice much last week and was targeted just three times in the NFC Divisional Round game against the New Orleans Saints. His day was saved by a three-yard touchdown catch, but it was his only reception. He should be more involved in the NFC Championship with another week of recovery under his belt.

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Stefon Diggs Jan 20 4:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs (oblique) was limited during practice Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Fantasy Spin: Diggs has posted at least 100 yards in five of his last six games and is a must-start fantasy option if he is active for the game.

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Quinton Jefferson Jan 20 4:53pm ET

Buffalo Bills DT Vernon Butler (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 20. QB Jake Fromm (non-injury) and DT Quinton Jefferson (ankle) were limited during practice. PK Tyler Bass (hand), LB Tremaine Edmunds (hamstring) and DE Darryl X. Johnson (knee) fully participated in practice.

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Stefon Diggs Jan 20 4:40pm ET

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Patrick Mahomes Jan 20 4:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Mahomes is going through the concussion protocol but may be able to do more during practice over the next few days. He is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL when healthy and should be a starting option if he is active.

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Gabriel Davis Jan 20 4:30pm ET

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