Falcons beat Bucs, 45-24, clinch NFC's No. 5 seed

January 1, 2012 - 7:32 PM
Buccaneers Falcons Football

Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham (55) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

ATLANTA (AP) — Julio Jones caught two touchdown passes in a span of 26 seconds, Michael Turner ran for two scores and the Atlanta Falcons used a team-record 42 first-half points to cruise to a 45-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to clinch the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Falcons (10-6) and Detroit (10-6) are the NFC wild-cards. Atlanta, which beat Detroit on Oct. 23, won the tiebreaker with the Lions for the more favorable seeding. The Falcons will play at the winner of Sunday night's Dallas-New York Giants game in the first round of the playoffs.

Josh Freeman threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in the first half as the Buccaneers (4-12) closed their season with their 10th straight loss, leaving the status of coach Raheem Morris in doubt.