What We Saw: Week 17

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during the final week of the 2020 NFL season.

Falcons @ Buccaneers


There’s just something about Tom Brady and the Falcons. At the age of 43, Brady carved up the Falcons to reach a remarkable 40 touchdowns on the season and lock up the 5th seed for the Bucs. Unfortunately, Mike Evans left the game early with what looked like a hyperextended knee. Tampa Bay ran away with this one, winning it 44-27 Let’s dive in and see what we can take away from this game.


Atlanta Falcons




Matt Ryan: 29/44, 265 yards, 2 TDs, 1 sack, 2 fumbles, 1 lost | 3 carries, 1 yard, 1 TD


Overall, this line is not the worst way for Matt Ryan to end the season. The team started off 0-5 and finished the year 4-12 while playing the majority of the year without star wideout Julio Jones.

The Falcons certainly could’ve used Jones to stretch the field as Ryan’s average depth of target sat at just over 5 yards. In fact, out of his 44 pass attempts, just 3 were deemed “deep” targets.

Ryan started the game off by completing his first 5 pass attempts of the game and led the Falcons offense down to the TB 4-yard line. Alas, the Falcons did “Falcon” things and settled for a field goal. Following a really nice first drive, the Falcons went 3-and-out, and then Matt Ryan fumbled, handing Tampa Bay the ball in Atlanta territory.

With the Bucs leading 20-3, Ryan got the engine kick-started some. The Falcons benefited from a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on the drive and dinked and dunked their way deep into TB territory. On 4th and 4 from the Tampa 10-yard line, it appeared that Ryan connected with Hayden Hurst for a touchdown, but he was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Matty Ice snuck it in for the score.



The Falcons got the ball to start the 2nd Half and immediately started driving. On the drive, Ryan completed a 3rd and 2 pass to Todd Gurley for a 15 yard gain which pushed them into Tampa territory. The Falcons had 1st and 10 from the TB 12 but again did “Falcons” things and faced a 3rd and 17 from the 19-yard line. Thankfully for Atlanta, Ryan hit Russell Gage for the score.



Following a Brady interception, Ryan got the Falcons moving again on a 15-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a field goal. On the drive, Ryan converted a 3rd and 10 completion to Gage and Calvin Ridley drew a pass interference penalty on 4th and 2.

With the Falcons trailing 30-20, Brian Hill put the team on his shoulders and carried the team on a 62-yard run down to the TB 4-yard line. However, an incompletion and two meh Gurley runs saw the Falcons facing a 4th and 1 from the 1-yard line. Ryan found a wide-open Hayden Hurst in the end zone for the touchdown to make the score 30-27.



However, the Bucs scored on their following drive and Ridley had the ball ripped out, which led to another Buccaneers touchdown. One final 4-and-out and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs to end their season.


Running Backs


Brian Hill: 9 carries, 94 yards, 1 fumble | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards

Todd Gurley: 9 carries, 18 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards

Ito Smith: 3 carries, 9 yards | 4 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards


I’ve covered the Falcons the last three weeks and each week this backfield has been a mess. At least this week they were somewhat productive. Here’s the breakdown of the snaps: Brian Hill 31, Todd Gurley 28, Ito Smith 13.

Smith was the early-down back to start the game but with Hill having the hot hand, Ito took a back seat. Smith saw one target in the red zone.

Gurley carried the ball 5 times within the 7-yard line, gaining 7 yards and scoring no touchdowns.

Finally, Hill looked decent today. He had a monster 62-yard run and a  26-yard reception. Both plays took the Falcons inside the 5-yard line.



Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Russell Gage: 11 targets, 9 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry, 11 yards

Calvin Ridley: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 52 yards, 1 fumble lost | 1 carry, -6 yards

Hayden Hurst: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 28 yards, TD

Laquon Treadwell: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards

Luke Stocker: 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards


On a day where Matt Ryan had an aDOT of just 5.3 yards, you might be able to guess that Russell Gage had a big game. Gage played on 61 of 72 snaps and saw a 25% target share. Just two of Gage’s targets were deep and one was on the last desperate offensive play of the game.

The Bucs did a nice job of limiting Calvin Ridley by rolling coverage his way and making it a point to make sure they didn’t get beat deep. He played on 65 snaps and had just 2 deep targets, catching one for 18 yards. He did draw a defensive pass interference penalty on a 4th and 2 play. Ridley had two targets and one carry in the red zone but picked up just 2 receiving yards and lost 6 yards on the carry. He had a costly fumble with the Falcons trailing by 10 in the 4th Quarter.



Hayden Hurst played on 49 snaps. He saw three red-zone targets, scoring one touchdown and being ruled down at the 1-yard line on another.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Tom Brady: 26/41, 399 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 1 sack | 5 carries, 3 yards


At 43 years old, Tom Brady tossed 40 touchdowns. Meanwhile, his ex-team will be missing the playoffs and tossed just 8 touchdowns for the year!

Brady got the scoring going early as Tampa Bay found the end zone on their first possession. Brady used his patented QB sneak to get a first down on 3rd and 1. Three plays later, Brady connected with Chris Godwin for the score.



Brady led the Bucs down the field again on their second possession. Brady connected deep with Antonio Brown and Mike Evans broke the 1,000-yard mark for the 7th consecutive season. The drive stalled out in the red zone and the Bucs kicked a field goal.

Following a Falcons’ 3-and-out, Ronald Jones ran the ball into Atlanta territory. Three plays later, on 3rd and 10, Brady connected with Antonio Brown for Brady’s second touchdown of the game.



To round out the half, Brady led a pair of field-goal drives. On the second drive, Godwin and Gronk drew consecutive pass interference penalties to pick up 23 yards. Checking the math, the Bucs put up points on all five 1st Half drives.

Following a Falcons’ TD to start the 2nd Half, Brady opened Tampa’s first drive by connecting with Godwin deep for a 46-yard gain. Two plays later, Brady was trying to hook up with Scotty Miller when he was picked off.



Following the pick, Tom Brady was angry – and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. He led a 9 play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The Bucs didn’t even face a 3rd Down on the drive which ended with a Ronald Jones touchdown plunge.

Next up was an 8 play, 75-yard touchdown drive. On 3rd and 12, Brady connected deep with Godwin for 47 yards down to the Atlanta 7-yard line. Two plays later, Brady hit Godwin for his second score of the game.



A Calvin Ridley fumble set up a short field for the Bucs. Two plays later on 3rd and 2, Brady connected with Antonio Brown deep for his 40th touchdown of the year.




Running Backs


Ronald Jones II: 12 carries, 78 yards, TD

Leonard Fournette: 5 carries, 13 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards


Ronald Jones played just 36 out of 67 offensive snaps in his return from a pinky injury and a trip on the COVID list. He had himself a fine day handling about half of the early-down work. Jones handled two red zone carries, finding the end zone once. He also had three consecutive carries in the 2nd Quarter that went for 16, 7, and 9 yards.



Leonard Fournette played on 30 offensive snaps but did not have a touch or target in the 2nd Half. Part of that may have had to do with the success that Brady was having through the air.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Antonio Brown: 14 targets, 11 receptions, 138 yards, 2 TD

Chris Godwin: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 133 yards, 2 TD

Mike Evans: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 46 yards

Rob Gronkowski: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards

Tyler Johnson: 2 targets, 1 reception, 16 yards

Scotty Miller: 3 targets, 1 reception, 12 yards

Cameron Brate: 2 targets, 1 reception, 11 yards


Not to start on a sour note – especially after such a good game by the Bucs – but Mike Evans was carted to the locker room late in the 1st Quarter after appearing to hyperextend his knee. On the previous play, Evans had just broken the record for most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to begin a career.

With Evans out for three-quarters of the game, Antonio Brown became Brady’s numero uno. Brown played on 56 of 67 offensive snaps and saw a 34% target share. Five of Browns’ targets were deep and he drew a defensive pass interference penalty. Brown had just one target in the red zone and he took it for 13 yards down to the 3-yard line but scored his two touchdowns from 20+ yards out. This was vintage Antonio Brown.

Chris Godwin played on 59 offensive snaps and while he saw just 7 targets, 4 of those were deep and three of them were completions. Godwin had one target in the red zone which went for a touchdown and he drew a defensive pass interference penalty.



Rob Gronkowski played on 45 snaps versus Cameron Brate’s 34 snaps. Gronk saw one deep target and drew a pass interference penalty. Both tight ends saw one target a piece in the red zone.


— Rich Holman (@RichardoPL83 on Twitter)

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