Originally written on The Bay Cave  |  Last updated 12/30/12

The Bucs wanted to end the season with a win and snap a five-game losing streak. After beating the Falcons on Sunday 22-17, they did just that and gave some sense of optimism for 2013. The Falcons put their starters in for the entire game even though they had the number one seed locked up for the NFC playoffs. On the other sidelines, Tampa Bay played their best football in all three phases this season. Atlanta rushed for 65 yards against Tampa Bay’s best run defense in the league. The Bucs defense held Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to 238 yards passing, one touchdown, and sacked him two times. By the way, if the Bucs gave up 251 yards through the air, they would have been categorized as the worst pass defense in yards given up. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. Josh Freeman, aside from the interception which Asante Samuel had a good read on, had his first decent game in weeks. His 222 yards passing yards on Sunday put him over the 4,000 yards mark for the first time in his career. Also makes him the only quarterback in franchise history to have that accomplishment. Freeman’s touchdown pass to Mike Williams also puts him at the top of the team’s record books with 78 touchdown passes. He passed Vinny Testaverde’s record of 77. The rookies showed up as well. Running back Doug Martin rushed for 142 yards, including a 40 yard touchdown run. Linebacker Lavonte David made five tackles including one for a loss, a sack, and two quarterback hits.But arguably the biggest play out of the rookies was safety Mark Barron breaking up what would have been a fourth down conversion for Atlanta in the fourth quarter when he knocked the ball out of tight end Tony Gonzalez’s hands after what would have been a completion to seal the game for the Bucs. Tampa Bay ends their season with a 7-9 record with hopes on building onto that in 2013. (Photo Credit: AP) The post Bucs end the season on a high note appeared first on The Bay Cave.

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