WHERE: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia
WHEN:: Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on UPN 44
LAST WEEK: The visiting Atlanta Falcons rolled over the Washington Redskins, 27-6. Atlanta's starting units dominated the Redskins', taking a 24-6 lead into halftime and never looking back. Falcons' starting QB Chris Chandler was 9-of-15 for 108 yards and a touchdown. Back up rookie QB Michael Vick didn't not fare particularly well, completing 3-of-7 passes for just 22 yards and one interception. Vick did, however, rush one time for 28 yards. Atlanta RB Jamal Anderson rushed 12 times for 45 yards against the Redskins and scored two touchdowns. The Falcons' received an outstanding effort from their defense. All-Pro CB Ray Buchanan returned an interception 31-yards for a touchdown in the first half.
The Buccaneers recorded their first win of the preseason with a 20-3 victory over the visiting Patriots. Tampa Bay's starting offense finally got on track. Starting QB Brad Johnson threw two touchdown passes while back up QB Shaun King threw a touchdown strike to WR Karl Williams in the second half. Pro Bowl RB Warrick Dunn rushed for 100 yards on his first five carries of the game and averaged 9.6 yards per carry last Saturday night against New England. Although Tampa Bay's offense performed well, their defense was even more impressive. The Buccaneers' defense held the Patriots to 39 yards rushing on 18 carries and also recorded five sacks. Tampa Bay's secondary fared even better, holding New England to just 44 net yards passing and just 1-of-14 (7 percent) on third down conversions. All together, the Bucs' defense held New England's offense to just 83 net yards.
THE LAST TIME THESE TWO TEAMS MET: November 5, 2000-The Buccaneers went to Atlanta last season and flattened the Dirty Birds, 27-14, in front of approximately 25,000 Bucs' fans who were on hand to watch the Pewter Pirates play in the Falcons' stadium. The Bucs' defense tied a season-high by forcing four turnovers. CB Donnie Abraham created two of those turnovers by coming up with interceptions. Although WR Keyshawn Johnson only had three catches against Atlanta, two of them were for touchdowns. QB Shaun King threw three touchdowns against the Falcons. The Bucs' defense knocked QB Chris Chandler out of the game-literally. On three consecutive plays, the Bucs' defense sacked Chandler and after the third one, Chandler had to leave the game with a concussion.
BUCS-FALCONS SERIES: Tampa Bay and Atlanta have met each 15 times in the preseason and the Buccaneers lead the series 8-7. The last time the Bucs and Falcons played each other in the preseason was at the Georgia Dome in 1997, where Atlanta won 17-12.
Tampa Bay also leads the regular season series with Atlanta, 9-8. The Buccaneers and Falcons have faced each other every year since 1990 except for 1996 and 1998. The Bucs are 5-4 in those games.
The Buccaneers will have to cut their roster down from 71 players to 53 on Sunday, September 2 and will open the regular season on the road against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, September 9.
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