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11/17/2013 6:49 PM EST
Rainey, Bucs win again, top slumping Falcons 41-28
TAMPA BAY 41, ATLANTA 28

By FRED GOODALL
AP Sports Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Bobby Rainey's never lacked confidence in
himself. All he wants is an opportunity to show he can play in
the NFL.

"That's my motivation, when people tell me what I can and cannot
do," the diminutive running back said Sunday after rushing for
163 yards and scoring three touchdowns to help the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers dominate the Atlanta Falcons 41-28.

Picked up on the waiver wire last month, Rainey is playing for
his third team in less than two seasons. This performance came
six days after he carried the ball for the first time with Bucs
and played a key role in helping them get their first win.

"To come back and do it again today was huge," Rainey said.

The 5-foot-8, 212-pounder whose lack of size hurt his chances of
being drafted is making his mark while filling in for the
injured Doug Martin and Mike James.

Rainey scored on first-half runs of 43 and 3 yards, then caught
a 4-yard TD pass from Mike Glennon in the third quarter to help
the Bucs (2-8) win for the second straight time following an
0-8 start.

The previous week, he rushed for 45 yards and scored the
go-ahead touchdown in a 22-19 victory over Miami. He began the
season as a kick returner and backup running back with the
Cleveland Browns.

"He's stepped up. We put a lot on his plate, but he's handled it
well," receiver Vincent Jackson said.

"He's being very coachable. He's taking in everything that's
being asked of him, doing a great job in the passing game as
well, picking up blocks," he said. "I see the kid being
successful the rest of this year. We put guys in position to be
successful. Hats off to our coaches for working with him,
putting the time in so he can go out there and compete."

Matt Ryan threw an 80-yard TD pass to Harry Douglas, extending
his streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown to
16 games. He threw a 6-yarder to Roddy White in the fourth
quarter, but also was sacked three times by Tampa Bay's Gerald
McCoy and had one of two interceptions returned 37 yards for a
TD by linebacker Mason Foster.

The Falcons (2-8), who went a NFC-best 13-3 and finished one
victory shy of the Super Bowl last season, have lost four
straight by a combined score of 135-61.

"It's embarrassing, the way we came out and performed as a team.
I mean all of us," Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "It's
all of us. (I'm) getting tired of it. It's all of us. That's the
thing about it. It's going to take all of us to get out of it."

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he still has confidence in coach
Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

"I absolutely do. And, they've earned it over the past five
years," Blank said. "It's a tough business. We've had a lot of
injuries, and issues on top of the injuries. These guys are
proven leaders and proven by success. ... They'll do the work
that has to be done with my full support."

Glennon completed 20 of 23 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns
and no interceptions. Jackson caught a 3-yard TD pass and
finished with 10 receptions for 165 yards.

Rainey entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore
after leaving Western Kentucky as the Hilltoppers' career
rushing leader. He was released once, re-signed to the Ravens'
practice squad and eventually wound up on the active roster
before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Baltimore went on to win the Super Bowl, and Rainey received a
championship ring despite not appearing in a regular-season game
as a rookie.

"I think preparation meets opportunity. ... He's not lucky. This
guy worked his tail off, he trained to do all the right things,
and here come his chance and he's ready for it," Bucs coach Greg
Schiano said. "So good for us, good for him."

The Bucs opened the season with eight straight losses, with four
of the setbacks coming in the final two minutes of regulation or
overtime. They beat Miami to become the last team in the league
to win this season, and played again Sunday with a confidence
that's been building since an overtime loss at Seattle two weeks
ago.

Ryan completed 19 of 36 passes for 254 yards. He was replaced by
Dominique Davis midway through the fourth quarter, but
re-entered the game after the backup limped off the field with
an injury.

The Falcons trailed 41-13 before Antone Smith scored on a
50-yard run and Ryan threw his TD pass to White.

NOTES: Foster, who left the game in the second half with a
concussion, became the first Bucs linebacker since Derrick
Brooks in 2002 to return two interceptions for TDs in the same
season. ... The Falcons rushed for 152 yards, most of it in the
fourth quarter. Besides his 50-yard TD burst, Smith gained 38 on
his only other carry. ... Douglass had six receptions for 134
yards for Atlanta.

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