"He's got a real locked-in look about him," coach Dan Quinn said after the Falcons improved to 6-3 and at the top of the NFC South. "He's really been on point, Matt has. He knows where to go with the ball, the decision to make it ... our run game came alive again tonight and when we have that balance, that's where we can be so challenging."
Ryan threw for 344 yards and four touchdowns, helping the Falcons pull away in the third quarter after a close first half. Atlanta trailed 14-13 in the second quarter, but led at the half and pulled away in the third quarter, when Ryan was near-perfect, going 11-for-12 for 146 yards, with touchdown passes to fullback Patrick DiMarco and receiver Julio Jones.
"We really struggled in the second half," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said after his team fell to 0-4 at home and 3-5 overall. "That third quarter, we just couldn't get off the field. (Defensive coordinator) Mike Smith tried a lot of different defenses. We just couldn't get a stop. ... We definitely couldn't stop them in the second half."
The Buccaneers (3-5), who gave up 626 yards of total offense in a loss to the Raiders last Sunday, gave up 461 to the Falcons as they continue to struggle, especially against the passing game.
Ryan came in leading the NFL in touchdown passes (19) and passing yards (2,636) and exceeded his averages on both to help the Falcons avenge an opening-week home loss to the Bucs. Julio Jones had eight catches for 111 yards and his fifth touchdown of the season.
The Bucs got three touchdown passes from Jameis Winston, but the Bucs couldn't stop the Falcons, who didn't punt while scoring five touchdowns and three field goals.
Winston left the game after injuring his right knee on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter -- the first time in his two-year NFL career he has missed a snap, with backup Mike Glennon filling in.
Glennon, getting his first playing time since 2014, threw a touchdown to tight end Cameron Brate with 0:59 left.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans had a career-high 11 catches for 150 yards, but was evaluated for a concussion after taking a shot on a one-handed catch. Evans entered the game tied for the NFL lead with six touchdown catches and added two more in the first half Thursday.
The Bucs drop to 0-4 at home this season and are an NFL-worst 3-17 at home since the start of the 2014 season. The Falcons' 43 points is the most allowed by the Bucs since a 48-17 loss to the Ravens in October 2014.
Taylor Gabriel scored a 9-yard touchdown on an end-around with 3:48 left in the half to give the Falcons a 20-14 lead.
The Bucs went 75 yards on the opening drive for a 7-0 lead on Winston's 3-yard pass to Evans, their first touchdown on an opening drive in more than a year.
The Falcons answered quickly, however, as Ryan connected with tight end Levine Toilolo for a 32-yard score to tie the game.
Atlanta forced a pair of Bucs turnovers, but could only get a field goal from each. Antone Smith's fumble set them up at the Bucs' 14, but they could only get a 29-yard Matt Bryant field goal, and after Winston fumbled, another field goal made it a 13-7 lead for Atlanta.
The Bucs took the lead back in the second quarter as Gerald McCoy sacked Ryan and forced a fumble that was recovered by Daryl Smith. Winston and Evans connected again for a 24-yard touchdown -- that's an NFL-best eight for Evans, giving the Bucs a 14-13 lead.
Tampa Bay had won three straight against their division rivals, all since Winston took over as their quarterback last season. The Bucs opened the season with three home losses, including Sunday in overtime against the Oakland Raiders.
NOTES: Rookie S Keanu Neal continues to be a productive tackler for the Falcons. Despite missing the first two games, he entered Thursday as the team's leading tackler, and led Atlanta with five tackles in the first half. ... Tampa Bay DE Will Gholston, who played with his right biceps heavily wrapped, got to Atlanta QB Matt Ryan for a sack late in the first half, giving the Bucs two in the first half.