Two early mistakes by Matt Ryan was all it took to dig a hole the Atlanta Falcons couldn't escape against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The rookie was intercepted twice in the first half Sunday and Tampa Bay's Brian Griese turned the miscues into a touchdown and field goal that helped the Buccaneers beat their NFC South rivals 24-9.
A week after beating Detroit in his pro debut, Ryan threw incompletions on his first nine passes before settling down to keep Atlanta (1-1) in the game with three field goal drives that trimmed a 17-point deficit to eight with five minutes to go.
The Bucs (1-1) ended any hopes that the third pick in this year's draft would finish an improbable comeback when Earnest Graham took a handoff, broke a tackle in the backfield and barreled around right end and up the sideline on a 68-yard TD run that put the game out of reach.
Ryan completed 13 of 33 passes for 158 yards. Aqib Talib's interception on Atlanta's third play set up Griese's 5-yard TD throw to John Gilmore and Sabby Piscitelli's pick and 17-yard return positioned the Bucs for Matt Bryant's 33-yard field goal that made it 17-0 late in the second quarter.
Adam Jennings' 37-yard punt return set up Elam's 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half, then Ryan led two long scoring drives that ended with field goals that gave Atlanta a chance if the defense could get the ball back.
Graham eliminated that prospect, finishing with 116 yards on 15 carries. Warrick Dunn had a 17-yard TD run in the second quarter and wound up with 49 yards on 12 carries against the team he played for the past six seasons.
Griese, replacing Jeff Garcia after Tampa Bay's starter struggled in a season-opening loss, was 18-of-31 for 160 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Garcia, a Pro Bowl selection last season when the Bucs won the NFC South, was not sharp last week against New Orleans after missing most of training camp and the preseason with a right calf strain.
Although he twisted an ankle during the 24-20 loss to the Saints, the injury wasn't what prompted coach Jon Gruden to make the change.
Griese helped Tampa Bay to a 5-1 start before a season-ending knee injury in 2005, and the Bucs had hoped to re-sign him the following offseason before the quarterback agreed to a contract with Chicago.
Gruden reacquired him in a trade this year.
With Michael Turner running for a franchise-record 220 yards in his Falcons debut, Ryan only threw the ball 13 times during Atlanta's 34-21 season-opening victory over Detroit. He had more attempts than that in the first half alone Sunday.
Some of the throws were high, one was thrown behind a receiver and intercepted, and another was launched backward toward the sideline, bouncing 11 yards in the wrong direction before rolling out of bounds.
The Bucs held Turner in check, limiting him to 42 yards on 14 carries.
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