Coming up a little short against one of the NFL's best teams was no consolation for fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who felt a victory against the Atlanta Falcons well within their grasp with time winding down in Sunday's fourth quarter, but ended up watching their team unable to score points when it absolutely needed them to secure victory.
And yet, the Bucs didn't lose this game because of the Atlanta passing game. They didn't lose it because their run defense struggled to contain Jacquizz Rodgers. They didn't lose because their rushing offense couldn't get going. They lost because they came up just a little short on numerous plays throughout the game.
The Buccaneers came up short when it mattered most — down one point with less than eight minutes remaining. A nine-play drive went for naught after a missed field goal, and needing the defense to step up, the Bucs couldn't get the stop they needed.
The Bucs started calling timeouts after the two minute warning, while they could have saved some 30 seconds by calling them earlier, and Tampa Bay got the ball back at their 38-yard line with just eight seconds remaining. Freeman couldn't conjure up some magic, and the Bucs ended up with a close loss to their biggest division rival.
The loss also put the gap between the Bucs and Falcons at four games in the division, a gap the bloggers called "insurmountable."