REPORT CARD: Falcons can't 'gift' opponents 17 points

[cmg_cinesport url=""]

Costly penalties hurt the Falcons as they fell to the Buccaneers in their home opener, 31-24. The AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter reports from the Georgia Dome.

September 11, 2016 ATLANTA: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones takes the field to play the Buccaneers in an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /

The Falcons found out that you can’t “gift” the opposition 17 points and expect to win in the NFL.

The Falcons’ mindless penalties kept three scoring drives alive that lead to 17 points in their 31-24 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Tampa Bay second-year quarterback Jameis Winston is now 3-0 against the Falcons.

He played a splendid game while throwing four touchdown passes, but the Falcons are kicking themselves for their rash of penalties, shoddy tackling and blown opportunities in the red zone.

Here are the grades:

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.