Emergency punter
About the last thing Bucs K Connor Barth thought he'd be doing was punting from his own end zone. But that's the predicament he found himself in after P Dirk Johnson injured a hamstring. Barth came through big, though. He had a 46-yard kick on his first punt since high school, getting the Bucs out of trouble.

"I was glad I could help the team," he said. "It was spur of the moment. In that situation, you just let it go and see what happens. I've done it before, but I haven't done it in a long time. The main thing is (teammates) blocked real well for me, so I didn't feel any pressure. I just got it out of there."

Fortunately, Barth didn't have to punt again. But he did have to perform another task: the one he gets paid for. "My job is to kick field goals," he said.

Unfortunately, he missed his kick from 51 yards with 2:34 left that would have extended the Bucs' lead to seven points. That gave the Falcons possession at their 41, setting up the winning touchdown. Barth had plenty of distance, but the kicked sailed just wide to the right.

"I hit it good," Barth said. "It just went right. The distance was good, but it stayed right down the hash (mark). I didn't hit it to the middle. I'm not going to make every one of them, but that was a great opportunity. I wish I could have capitalized."

The St.Petersburg Times 30 November 2009