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Jones' big game leads Falcons past Buccaneers 34-20

ATLANTA (AP) Julio Jones is getting hot, and so are the Atlanta Falcons.

Suddenly, things are looking up for the defending NFC champions.

Jones turned in one of the best games of his career, hauling in 12 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, and the Falcons won their third in a row Sunday with a 34-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

''The goal is to get better as you're playing,'' coach Dan Quinn said. ''We're going to keep working like crazy to do that.''

It would be hard for Jones to get much better.

After managing only one touchdown catch through the first 10 games, he doubled that total in the first half. Jones hauled in a 51-yard scoring pass from fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu and went 25 yards for a TD on a throw from Matt Ryan, finishing the play with a soaring dive for the pylon, somehow managing to stay in bounds before sticking out the ball with his right hand.

''I'm feeling better,'' Jones said. ''A couple weeks ago, I had an ankle (injury) and it was bothering me. But right now, I'm good.''

That's an understatement.

Jones now has three games in his brilliant career with at least 250 yards receiving. No other player in NFL history has more than one.

''Man, if we could just dial up 250 from him every week, that would be pretty good recipe for success,'' said Ryan, who was 26 of 35 for 317 yards. ''He's an unbelievable talent, an unbelievable competitor. Obviously, he gets us going.''

The Falcons (7-4) began the day two games behind New Orleans in the NFC South but holding a wild-card spot.

That's a big improvement over where they were at the beginning of the month, having lost four of five games to raise serious questions about whether they'd even get back to the playoffs, much less duplicate their run to the Super Bowl.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, the Falcons rekindled some ugly memories by nearly squandering a big lead to a team playing its third consecutive game without injured quarterback Jameis Winston.

The Buccaneers (4-7) rebounded from a 27-6 deficit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and drove deep into Atlanta territory after forcing a fumble at the other end of the field. But Keanu Neal battled down Fitzpatrick's pass on fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 18 with just over seven minutes remaining, and the Falcons drove for a clinching touchdown on Tevin Coleman's 14-yard run with just under two minutes to go.

''We did a good job of battling back and giving ourselves a chance to win,'' Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said.

If only they could've figured out some way to stop Jones.

''We tried rolling the coverage to him. We tried pressing him,'' Koetter said. ''We didn't have an answer for him.''

Coleman, filling in for again for injured Devonta Freeman, rushed for 97 yards and two TDs. He had a 3-yard scoring run in the third quarter, staking the Falcons to a seemingly comfortable lead in the first of three straight home games for the Falcons.

Fitzpatrick made the Atlanta crowd a bit uncomfortable. Looking for his third straight victory since taking over for Winston, the backup quarterback finished 27 of 44 for 283 yards, setting up a pair of short touchdown runs by Peyton Barber.

Sanu remained perfect in his career when throwing. He is 6 of 6 for 228 yards with three touchdowns.

On the throw to Jones, Sanu took the snap out of shotgun on third-and-1, while Ryan lined up wide right in a receiver slot. The play nearly got derailed when Sanu bobbled the ball faking a handoff to Coleman, but he managed to snag it out of the air and deliver a perfect throw down the middle of the field.

''We're just having fun,'' Sanu said. ''We've got a little swag back.''

JULIO THE FENCER

Jones looks as if he might have a second career as a fencer if this football thing doesn't work out for him.

After his second TD, Jones celebrated by doing some faux jousting with teammate Justin Hardy.

Of course, Jones wound up delivering the winning blow, sending Hardy tumbling backward to the turf.

''We're just trying to be creative,'' Jones said. ''It's one of those things that brings us together.''

INJURY REPORT

Tampa Bay: The Bucs sustained some huge blows during the game, losing RB Doug Martin (concussion), S T.J. Ward (concussion), S Josh Robinson (hamstring) and DT Clinton McDonald (back).

Atlanta: CB Desmond Trufant went out with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet collision with teammate Neal in the second quarter. DB Brian Poole also went out with a lower back injury.

UP NEXT

Tampa Bay: Play their third straight road game at Green Bay next Sunday.

Atlanta: Stay home to face first-place Minnesota (9-2).

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

---

For more AP NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2017 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
R. Fitzpatrick 14 QB
283 PaYds, 20 RuYds
13
FPTS
J. Jones 11 WR
253 ReYds, 2 ReTDs, 12 RECs, 15 RuYds
38
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:53
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
20
34
Touchdown 1:53
T.Coleman right end for 14 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
11
plays
82
yds
5:12
pos
20
33
Point After TD 13:47
P.Murray extra point is GOOD, Center-G.Sanborn, Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
20
27
Touchdown 13:47
P.Barber left tackle for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.
9
plays
80
yds
3:39
pos
19
27
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:07
P.Murray extra point is GOOD, Center-G.Sanborn, Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
13
27
Touchdown 6:07
C.Benenoch reported in as eligible. P.Barber left end for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
10
plays
75
yds
3:57
pos
12
27
Point After TD 10:04
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
6
27
Touchdown 10:04
T.Coleman left guard for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
9
plays
78
yds
4:56
pos
6
26
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 0:00
M.Bryant 36 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
8
plays
59
yds
1:36
pos
6
20
Field Goal 1:36
P.Murray 27 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-G.Sanborn, Holder-B.Anger.
14
plays
74
yds
5:50
pos
6
17
Point After TD 7:26
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
3
17
Touchdown 7:26
M.Ryan pass deep left to Ju.Jones for 25 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
6
plays
72
yds
3:12
pos
3
16
Point After TD 12:36
M.Bryant extra point is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
plays
yds
pos
3
10
Touchdown 12:36
Direct snap to M.Sanu. M.Sanu pass deep left to Ju.Jones for 51 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
3
plays
60
yds
1:23
pos
3
9
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 3:50
M.Bryant 49 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-J.Harris, Holder-M.Bosher.
13
plays
43
yds
5:55
pos
3
3
Field Goal 9:45
P.Murray 36 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-G.Sanborn, Holder-B.Anger.
10
plays
57
yds
5:15
pos
3
0
Team Stats
Time of Pos 29:54 30:06
1st Downs 27 23
Rushing 7 7
Passing 18 16
Penalty 2 0
3rd Down Conv 4-11 11-14
4th Down Conv 1-2 0-0
Total Net Yards 373 516
Total Plays 68 64
Avg Gain 5.5 8.1
Net Yards Rushing 94 148
Rush Attempts 23 28
Avg Rush Yards 4.1 5.3
Net Yards Passing 279 368
Comp. - Att. 27-44 27-36
Yards Per Pass 6.3 10.2
Sacked - Yards Lost 1-4 0-0
Penalties - Yards 2-15 4-42
Touchdowns 2 4
Rushing TDs 2 2
Passing TDs 0 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 0 1
Fumbles - Lost 0-0 1-1
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 3-53.3 2-52.0
Return Yards 43 155
Punts - Returns 0-0 2-26
Kickoffs - Returns 2-43 5-129
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 4/4 6/6
Extra Points 2/2 4/4
Field Goals 2/2 2/2
Red Zone Eff. 2-5 -40% 2-3 -67%
Goal to Go Eff. 2-3 -67% 0-0 -0%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Buccaneers 4-7 337720
Falcons 7-4 3177734
279 PASS YDS 368
94 RUSH YDS 148
373 TOTAL YDS 516
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
R. Fitzpatrick 14 QB
13
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
61.4% 283 0 0 80.0
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58.9% 1103 7 3 86.0
R. Fitzpatrick 27/44 283 0 0 13
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
D. Martin 22 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
7 33 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
119 376 2
D. Martin 7 33 0 10 3
J. Rodgers 32 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 31 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
60 217 1
J. Rodgers 8 31 0 9 3
R. Fitzpatrick 14 QB
13
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 20 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 78 0
R. Fitzpatrick 2 20 0 11 13
P. Barber 25 RB
12
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 7 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
30 88 2
P. Barber 5 7 2 3 12
C. Sims 34 RB
2
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
13 57 0
C. Sims 1 3 0 3 2
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Evans 13 WR
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
12 6 78 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 51 702 4
M. Evans 12 6 78 0 20 7
D. Jackson 11 WR
6
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
11 8 60 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 43 592 3
D. Jackson 11 8 60 0 15 6
O. Howard 80 TE
5
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 3 52 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 20 331 4
O. Howard 4 3 52 0 29 5
A. Humphries 10 WR
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 4 38 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 39 377 0
A. Humphries 6 4 38 0 19 3
C. Sims 34 RB
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 3 26 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 26 178 1
C. Sims 5 3 26 0 12 2
C. Godwin 12 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 17 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 16 206 0
C. Godwin 2 1 17 0 17 1
J. Rodgers 32 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 7 54 0
J. Rodgers 2 1 6 0 6 3
C. Brate 84 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 35 442 4
C. Brate 2 1 6 0 6 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
R. Smith 29 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
35-5 0 0.0
R. Smith 8-0 0.0 0 0
K. Alexander 58 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
8-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
34-13 2 0.0
K. Alexander 8-0 0.0 0 0
J. Evans 21 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
41-11 2 0.0
J. Evans 7-1 0.0 0 0
B. Grimes 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
31-2 2 0.0
B. Grimes 4-0 0.0 0 0
L. David 54 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
51-13 0 0.0
L. David 4-2 0.0 0 0
K. Beckwith 51 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
46-8 0 1.0
K. Beckwith 3-0 0.0 0 1
T. Ward 43 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
22-7 0 0.0
T. Ward 3-0 0.0 0 0
C. Baker 90 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
20-5 0 0.0
C. Baker 3-0 0.0 0 0
W. Gholston 92 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
15-12 0 0.0
W. Gholston 3-0 0.0 0 0
G. McCoy 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
27-10 0 5.0
G. McCoy 2-0 0.0 0 0
R. Russell 95 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-3 0 0.0
R. Russell 2-1 0.0 0 0
B. Anger 9 P
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
B. Anger 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Bond 59 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
D. Bond 1-1 0.0 0 0
K. Tandy 37 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
9-2 0 0.0
K. Tandy 1-1 0.0 0 0
W. Clarke 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-0 0 1.0
W. Clarke 1-0 0.0 0 0
R. McClain 36 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
27-6 2 0.0
R. McClain 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Lynch 52 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
C. Lynch 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Conte 23 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
39-10 1 0.0
C. Conte 1-0 0.0 0 0
C. Godwin 12 WR
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
C. Godwin 1-0 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
P. Murray 7 K
8
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
12/14 10/10
P. Murray 2/2 36 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Anger 9 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
3 53.3 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
50 43.8 18
B. Anger 3 53.3 0 59
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
J. Rodgers 32 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 21.5 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 24.0 29 0
J. Rodgers 2 21.5 26 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
M. Ryan 2 QB
18
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
74.3% 317 1 0 111.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
67.6% 2884 16 8 97.2
M. Ryan 26/35 317 1 0 18
M. Sanu 12 WR
14
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 51 1 0 158.3
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
100% 51 1 0 158.3
M. Sanu 1/1 51 1 0 14
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
T. Coleman 26 RB
21
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
19 97 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
122 539 5
T. Coleman 19 97 2 20 21
T. Ward 28 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
7 35 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
22 89 0
T. Ward 7 35 0 14 1
J. Jones 11 WR
38
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 15 0
J. Jones 1 15 0 15 38
M. Ryan 2 QB
18
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
20 92 0
M. Ryan 1 1 0 1 18
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Jones 11 WR
38
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
15 12 253 2
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 66 1039 3
J. Jones 15 12 253 2 51 38
M. Sanu 12 WR
14
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 8 64 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 45 452 4
M. Sanu 9 8 64 0 25 14
A. Hooper 81 TE
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 3 38 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 36 417 3
A. Hooper 5 3 38 0 20 3
T. Gabriel 18 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 16 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 28 326 1
T. Gabriel 3 3 16 0 13 1
D. Coleman 40 FB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 20 0
D. Coleman 1 0 0 0 0 0
T. Ward 28 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 -3 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 2 8 0
T. Ward 1 1 -3 0 -3 1
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
R. Alford 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
43-7 0 0.0
R. Alford 7-0 0.0 0 0
K. Neal 22 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
60-22 0 0.0
K. Neal 6-2 0.0 0 0
C. Goodwin 29 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-1 0 0.0
C. Goodwin 4-0 0.0 0 0
D. Shelby 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-13 0 1.0
D. Shelby 3-1 0.0 0 0
D. Kazee 27 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-7 0 0.0
D. Kazee 3-2 0.0 0 0
R. Allen 37 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
26-10 0 0.0
R. Allen 3-3 0.0 0 0
D. Riley 42 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-12 0 0.0
D. Riley 2-0 0.0 0 0
D. Trufant 21 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
25-4 2 1.0
D. Trufant 2-2 0.0 0 0
D. Campbell 59 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
46-21 0 2.0
D. Campbell 2-2 0.0 0 0
R. Schraeder 73 T
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
R. Schraeder 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Jones 45 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-5 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
58-30 1 1.0
D. Jones 1-5 0.0 0 0
D. Poe 92 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-9 0 1.0
D. Poe 1-0 0.0 0 0
G. Jarrett 97 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
24-15 0 1.0
G. Jarrett 1-1 0.0 0 0
L. Reynolds 53 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
L. Reynolds 1-0 0.0 0 0
B. Reed 50 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
16-11 0 4.0
B. Reed 1-1 0.0 0 0
B. Poole 34 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
36-12 0 1.0
B. Poole 1-0 0.0 0 0
K. Ishmael 36 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-11 0 1.0
K. Ishmael 1-0 0.0 0 0
T. McKinley 98 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-2 0 4.0
T. McKinley 1-1 1.0 0 0
A. Rubin 79 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-3 0 0.0
A. Rubin 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
M. Bryant 3 K
10
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 4/4
SEASON FG XP
21/24 28/28
M. Bryant 2/2 49 4/4 10
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
M. Bosher 5 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 52.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
33 44.6 12
M. Bosher 2 52.0 0 55
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Roberts 19 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
5 25.8 33 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
28 21.5 61 0
A. Roberts 5 25.8 33 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
A. Roberts 19 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 13.0 18 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
14 8.9 27 0
A. Roberts 2 13.0 18 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 TB 25 5:15 10 57 FG
3:50 TB 26 2:15 4 6 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 TB 20 1:01 3 2 Punt
12:36 TB 25 1:58 3 -4 Punt
7:26 TB 17 5:50 14 74 FG
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:04 TB 25 3:57 10 75 TD
2:26 TB 20 3:39 9 80 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:11 TB 42 4:06 8 40 Downs
1:53 TB 25 1:53 9 50 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:45 ATL 26 5:55 13 43 FG
1:35 ATL 23 1:35 4 22 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:59 ATL 40 1:23 3 60 TD
10:38 ATL 28 3:12 6 72 TD
1:36 ATL 23 1:36 8 59 FG
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 ATL 22 4:56 9 78 TD
6:07 ATL 35 3:41 7 16 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:47 ATL 22 2:36 5 64 Fumble
7:05 ATL 18 5:12 11 82 TD