Tampa Bay takes control in NFC South, routing Falcons 31-7

By: associated press
By: associated press

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Falcons had reason to be hopeful -- but their
rookie coach made a curious call at quarterback.

The result is that Atlanta is back where it started in the post-Michael Vick era -- searching for a Number One quarterback.

After Joey Harrington guided the Falcons to a two-game winning streak, coach Bobby Petrino switched back to Byron Leftwich yesterday to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team had a chance
to pull Atlanta within a game of first place.

But now no one's thinking about first anymore. Leftwich had a horrible game and the Falcons were blown out 31-7 by the Bucs.

Petrino had said Leftwich would start the rest of the season as long as he was healthy. But the coach seemed to change that line of thinking after watching Leftwich throw two interceptions and fumble twice against Tampa Bay.

So, who will start Thanksgiving night against the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts?

He says, "We've a got a lot to evaluate."

Tampa Bay (6-4) allowed just 49 yards rushing, delaying former Bucs star Warrick Dunn from joining the 10-thousand-yard club.

The Bucs now hold a commanding two-game lead in the division race with six to play.

Playing behind a short-handed offensive line, Leftwich had one of the worst games in his career. Harrington took over late in the third quarter, but it did NOT matter much by then with Tampa Bay already leading 24-0.

Leftwich says, "To be honest with you, I've never been involved with something like this."

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