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2012 NFL Week 12 Recap, Analysis: Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's tough to win on the road in the NFL. If you look around the league, the Falcons are one of only three teams who have one loss or less on the road (49ers are 4-1 and Texans are 5-0). It's also tough to win in the division (there are no undefeated teams in the NFC South in divisional play this season in limited action so far this season). To win on the road and against a divisional rival? Priceless.

This was yet another game by the Falcons where they played a good overall game, weren't amazing in any facet but gutted it out and won. This was the Falcons seventh win by ten points or less. What that tells me is that this Falcons team isn't that much more talented than their opponents but they are winners. And the more experience the Falcons get with winning in different ways, the better.

A few things stood out for me in this Falcons win.

The defense was unspectacular but they were solid and they seemed to hit with an edge in this game. Having Sean Weatherspoon on the field definitely made a difference. A big key was containing rookie Doug Martin. He had 2 TDs but the 50 yards and 2.1 ypc were well below his average. A concern is our banged up secondary, which missed a few opportunities, but I do like Robert McClain. He's a guy I didn't think we should have kept around after camp but he's proved me wrong.

Jacquizz Rodgers is coming into his own. Jacquizz not only led the Falcons in rushing with 49 yards on 10 carries but he also made three really big plays down the stretch in this game that helped the Falcons win this game. Following a Tampa Bay field goal, Rodgers took the kick-off for 43 yards out to the 36 yard line. This got the Falcons drive going and led to the go-ahead TD. On the first play of that same drive, Rodgers took a screen pass and went 32 yards on he biggest play of the drive. Fast forward to the Falcons final drive and Rodgers took the opening hand-off for 12 yards and first down to keep the clock moving. Jacquizz is becoming a big part of the offense and he's making plays in crunch time.

Just like every other team in the NFL, the Falcons have things they need to work on but you can't deny that this team has an uncanny ability to win close games. It's what they do. Will it hold up when the play-offs come around? We will have to talk about that later because it's a short week and it's time to get our revenge on the Saints in the Dome this Thursday.

Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and analysis over at The Grits Blitz.


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