NFL: Matt Ryan stars as Atlanta Falcons narrowly beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Ryan was the star of the show as he rallied the Atlanta Falcons to a 24-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Last Updated: 25/11/12 11:18pm
Ryan threw for 353 yards and overcame two critical turnovers by leading another late touchdown drive to move the Falcons to 10-1.
Ryan started the game with 10 straight completions before Ronde Barber's interception and 28-yard return to the Atlanta 31 led to Connor Barth's first field goal.
Doug Martin then scored the first of two one-yard runs, although the rookie who began the day leading the NFL in total yards from scrimmage was limited to 50 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Atlanta converted six of eight first downs and outgained the Bucs 239 yards to 105 in the opening half, yet it was 10-10 at the break after only mustering a field goal and a lone touchdown from Jacquizz Rodgers.
He connected with Julio Jones on an 80-yard touchdown for the go-ahead score midway through the third quarter.
But the NFC South leaders found themselves trailing 23-17 after the Bucs marched downfield for a touchdown, then forced a fumble by Ryan to set up a Barth field goal.
But Ryan engineered a drive which ended in Michael Turner's three-yard touchdown run putting Atlanta ahead for good with 7:55 left.
Connor Barth missed a 56-yard goal for Tampa Bay (6-5) in the closing minutes, and the Bucs' four-game winning streak ended when Josh Freeman's desperation pass fell incomplete in the end zone with no time remaining.
The win enabled the Falcons (10-1) to keep pace with Houston for the NFL's best record.