The Atlanta Falcons 2-1 (2nd in NFC South) started out the third week on the 2014 NFL regular season on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons scored one of the biggest wins in franchise history as the beat the Buccaneers 0-3 (4th in NFC South) 56-14 with the game played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, September 18th 2014. Going into the game, the Falcons were favored as -6 ½ point home favorites, with the over/under at 44 ½.
In this defeat over Tampa Bay, WR/RB Devin Hester set a new record as he scored his 20th career return for a TD that broke the NFL record previously held by Deion Sanders. Also QB Matt Ryan threw as many touchdowns as he had incomplete passes, with 286 total yards and 3 TDs. Receiver Jones had nine receptions for 161 yards and 2 TDs. Atlanta had run up the score to 35-0 before Tampa Bay was able to get a first down. Then halfway into the third quarter with the score 49-0, QB Ryan and other starters left the game.
The Buccaneers score two late touchdowns that avoided this game being their worst loss in franchise history and the second largest win for the Falcons with the largest win being the 62-7 rout of the Saints back in 1973 and was the fifth time the Falcons have won a game by at least 40 points.
With Atlanta leading by 28-0 RB Hester took a punt around midfield and returned it going around the punter who was the last tackler and ran 62 yards for the TD his 20th in his career and the record which he had shared with former Falcon Teammate Deion Sanders. Deion now an analyst for TV watched on the sideline as Hester made his record breaking return. Hester said, "It's tough to break the record of the guy who is my No. 1 mentor."
In the Falcons last game with a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as Falcons QB Ryan three interceptions he came back in this game with the Buc’s completing 21 of 24 which set a team completion record at .875 percent, and he passed to Jones for a 8 yard TD and hen to Doulas for a 3 yard TD. While Hester who is in his first year with the Falcons also had a 20 yard run for a TD and the Buc’s stripped the ball from a falcon receiver and then fumbled the ball and Hester recovered the fumble, quite a defensive play.
The Buccaneers lost this third game for three straight losses, which was a third time in the last six years to do such. There QB McCowan was just 5 of 12 for 58 yards and intercepted for the fourth time this season, which was intercepted by Falcons safety Ishmael and returned for 23 yards and a TD.
The Coach for the Bucs Lovie Smith thought his team was ready and had no idea they would turn the ball over five times and be penalized some 110 yards and another embarrassing game as they were out gunned on offense as the Falcons had 448 yards while Tampa Bay had 2014 total yards. Thanks to an interception by the Bucs Lansanah who returned it for a TD they were saved from what would have been the worst point loss ever.