ATLANTA (AP) — Tampa Bay took a step forward in its season-long search for second-half scoring.
Vincent Jackson said the Buccaneers also took two steps back to remain winless.
Tampa Bay dominated the clock in the second half but settled for two late field goals when it needed touchdowns in its 31-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
The loss left the Buccaneers (0-6) still looking for their first win. Running back Doug Martin left the game early in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.
“Nobody wants to be in this situation,” said Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn. “We’ve got to deal with it.”
Trailing 31-17, the Buccaneers held the ball for 18 plays and over 9 minutes in a marathon fourth-quarter drive that produced a first down at the Falcons 5. Four penalties on the possession, including a facemask call against Jackson that pushed the Bucs back to the 15, helped force Tampa Bay to settle for Rian Lindell’s 41-yard field goal with 5 minutes remaining.
Lindell added his third field goal of the game, from 36 yards, with 2 minutes remaining. The Falcons ran out the clock after recovering an onside kick.
Jackson produced Tampa Bay’s first third-quarter touchdown of the season with a 1-yard scoring catch. When combined with Lindell’s two fourth-quarter field goals, the Buccaneers matched the 13 second-half points they scored in their first five games.
Not when the comeback attempt produced only field goals in the fourth quarter.
“We can’t go backward,” Jackson said. “It seems like we take one step forward, two steps back. We’ve got to come away with seven points in those situations.”
Rookie Mike Glennon, making his first road start, completed 26 of 44 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns to Jackson.
“He went on the road and showed he can handle the pressure on the road,” said Tampa Bay receiver Mike Williams of Glennon. “As a team, we’ve got to help him and make more plays for him.”
Jackson, targeted on 22 passes, had 10 catches for 138 yards, including touchdown receptions of 59 yards in the second quarter and 1 yard in the third quarter.
Martin had 11 carries for 47 yards before he was injured while attempting to catch a 16-yard pass near the left sideline.
Martin lay on his back for several minutes before walking off the field under his own power. He said X-rays “look fine” and the shoulder is not separated.
Martin said he is “not sure yet” if he will play in Thursday night’s game against Carolina. “Just have to hope for the best,” he said.
Harry Douglas had seven receptions for a career-best 149 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown catch, for Atlanta.
Matt Ryan also threw two touchdown passes to Jacquizz Rodgers as the Falcons (2-4) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Douglas flourished as Ryan’s No. 1 target with Julio Jones out for the season with a foot injury and Roddy White inactive for the first time in his nine-year career due to hamstring and ankle injuries.
Ryan completed 20 of 26 passes for 273 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Moore sacked Glennon to force a fumble on Tampa Bay’s first possession. Safety Thomas DeCoud returned the fumble recovery 30 yards for a touchdown.
“They blitzed me and I was looking for my hot guy and I wasn’t able to get it to him, but that’s on me,” Glennon said. “I have to hold on to the ball. No one else to blame but myself and I am going to get that corrected.”
Tampa Bay was called for 11 penalties for 103 yards.
“Certainly, we are very frustrated about that,” said Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. “It’s been a long time since I’ve coached a team that had this kind of issue, and you have to put that on me. We have to find a way to get that fixed.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay moved center Jeremy Zuttah to left guard where he started for Carl Nicks, who was out after undergoing surgery for MRSA infection. Ted Larsen started at center and drew a personal foul for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter. … Mike James took over for Martin and had 14 carries for 45 yards. … Michael Koenen shanked a punt for only 20 yards to set up a one-play, 37-yard touchdown drive for the Falcons on Ryan’s scoring pass to Douglas.