After losing cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford to injuries, Falcons cornerbacks Phillip Adams and Jalen Collins were pressed into duty late against Tampa Bay.
In overtime, Tampa Bay rookie quarterback tossed two deep passes to Adams’s man. On the second, a pass interference was called that moved the ball down to Atlanta’s 13-yard line.
Adams had battled back and deflected the ball intended for Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans in the endzone.
“Man, I’ve never….the referee needs to re-evaluate that,” Adams said. “To be real with you, because that was not pass interference. But it happens. You have to keep on moving on. We have to keep on going on within the game.”
The Falcons defense kept the Bucs out of the endzone, but kicker Connor Barth added a 31-yard field goal, which would turn out to be the winning points.
Strong safety William Moore was inactive for the game with a groin injury.
Trufant suffered a lower back injury, which is not believed to be serious, and did not return. Later, Alford suffered a groin injury.
Adams, who opened the season as the nickel back, was pressed into duty.
“It was not a tough situation,” Adams said. “We are always prepared. We always want to be out there. It was our day.”
The Falcons were able to comeback from a 17-point deficit to force overtime.
“There was no surprise,” Adams said. “We go out there to do what we can do and try to get the football. We weren’t able to get (the turnovers) today. We go back to work and keep working.”
Kemal Ishmael started for Moore and finished the game.
“It didn’t end the way we wanted it to end, but we played our (behinds) off,” Ishmael said.
He was proud of the way Adams and Collins stepped up for Trufant and Alford.
“Man, I think that everybody gave it all that they had,” Ishmael said. “Fortunately, with the injuries it is always the next man up policy. We’re always ready when we are supposed to play. We battled our (behinds) off.”
With the reserves in the secondary, the Bucs were able to put together a 15-play, 68-yard drive in overtime to get into position for the field goal.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith were limited with what defenses they could call on that game-winning drive.
“Well, it’s a challenge for sure,” Quinn said. “It comes up in lots of NFL games. We have such confidence in the guys. It was a matter of just getting the pieces in the right spots going into it, but we have all of the confidence in the world for the guys that go in. We wouldn’t put them up and (have them) active if we didn’t believe in them, and we certainly do. For us, the real issue tonight really came down to the football.”