Dicey second half costs Bucs three defensive backs
A defensive effort initially shaping up as convincing regressed costly in short order Sunday. The Bucs lost three defensive backs in the second half of Sunday's 21-15 win against the Falcons. Starting cornerback Carlton Davis was the first to exit, with a hip injury, and was followed shortly thereafter by backup corner Sean Murphy-Bunting (quad) and safety Mike Edwards.

Coach Todd Bowles had no immediate update on the status of any of the three and said he hadn't been briefed on Edwards (who appeared to hurt his right arm), indicating the injury likely isn't severe.

The injuries to Davis and Murphy-Bunting resulted in rookie cornerback Zyon McCollum logging extensive action in his first NFL game. McCollum finished with a tackle each on defense and special teams. "Corner-wise, we'll look at the tape," Bowles said. "But he got some experience, he got his feet wet, and the game wasn't too big for him."

Senat's meaningful sack
Fourteen months after being waived by the Falcons with an injury designation, Bucs nose tackle Deadrin Senat notched his first career NFL sack against the team that drafted him in the third round out of USF in 2018.

Senat's sack of Marcus Mariota, inside the Falcons 25 on the second half's opening possession, continued his career mini-resurgence. Signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad after failing to make the initial 53-player roster, Senat was promoted to the active roster on Sept. 21.

He has seven tackles in three games, including four on Sunday. "I had checked this team (on the schedule)," said Senat, waived by Atlanta after tearing a pectoral muscle in August 2021.

"We play them twice, but I was like ... they let me go at my lowest moment, with me being hurt and just me going through what I had been through. And I understand that's the name of the business, but just making plays and actually winning against them, it just means everything to me."

Perfection preserved
With Sunday's triumph, Tom Brady improved to 11-0 in his career against the Falcons, including that spunky little comeback in Super Bowl 51.

Brady's totals in those 11 contests: 3,692 yards, 29 touchdowns, four interceptions. His 33 first-half pass attempts Sunday were a career high, and his 24 first-half completions tied his career mark set in New England, during a 59-0 romp of the Titans on Oct. 18, 2009. Additionally, he notched his 40th 300-yard passing effort since turning 40. All other 40-and-over quarterbacks in NFL history have combined for 23.

Julio Jones out again
For the third time in five games, receiver Julio Jones didn't play, and Bowles didn't exactly convey reassurance about the 33-year-old's status going forward. Jones reportedly is nursing a torn posterior cruciate ligament that won't require surgery. He was limited in practice all week before being ruled out a few hours prior to kickoff. "We'll see how serious he's hurt, and we'll play it week by week right now," Bowles said. "We'll come to a decision at some point."

Joey Knight, The Tampa Bay Times, published 10 October 2022