Bucs rally to upend Rams 18-17

Cadillac with the game-winning TD

The Rams did not come out as hot to start the game as they have in previous weeks, but were able to score 17 points in the first half. However, the bad side of the Rams came out in the 2nd half as they did not execute as well on offense or defense and allowed the Bucs and their sparse crowd back into the game. The Rams packed it through out the second half, both with play calling and execution. Sam Bradford was as inaccurate as he has been all year. The Rams snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory as they have been so accustomed to doing During the second quarter, Rams running back Steven Jackson passed Eric Dickerson to become the Rams leading career rusher on a 3 yard run to pick up a first down.

Rams stopped TB at 3rd and 1 at the 50 on the Bucs first drive, but they were able to pick up the 4th and inches. The Rams defense was still able to force a punt from Tampa Bay.

The Rams went backwards on their first drive and Sam Bradford fumbled the ball trying to get a late pass out of trouble as he was being sandwiched by multiple players. Rams challenged and was upheld. The Bucs were only able to get a FG as they backed up through two penalties and a Rams sack.
The Rams were able to drive down the field on their second drive and they finished the drive with a field goal at the start of the 2nd quarter. They found a lot of success featuring Steven Jackson heavily in the run and pass game. On their next drive, Steven Jackson did all the heavy lifting as Pat Shurmur tossed in some highly successful screens to get the Rams down to a goal to go situation. Sam Bradford rolled right and hit Danny Amendola for a short touchdown that gave the Rams a 10-3 lead.
After the Rams first stumbling drive, they were able to mix up the calls and run the ball to successfully move the ball down the field in the first half. They were able to punctuate their next drive with another short TD pass from Sam Bradford. This one was the first TD catch for rookie Mike Hoomanawanui. The Rams settled for a field goal, but the Bucs were offside and the Rams took the points off the board and went in for a touchdown instead. Both TDs were scored on 3rd and goal on a rollout to the right by Sam Bradford. That TD put the Rams up 17-3.
After the Bucs moved the ball down the field at the end of the half, they kicked a field goal to make the score 17-6 at half time. The Rams missed an easy interception as Chris Long forced a blooper of a pass when two Rams defenders ran into each other.

As the Rams have done in previous games, the offense came out flat to start the 2nd half, going 3 and out. The Rams defense then allowed the Bucs to move down the field through the running game to get another field goal to make the game 17-9. The Rams had allowed very little in the running game to that point, but the Bucs had much more success running their offense off the running game.

Once again, the Rams let the opposition back in the game in the second half. Sam Bradford was pressing and missing open receivers. Steven Jackson came off the field injured after an innocuous running play up the middle. With Jackson off the field, the Rams drive sputtered and the Rams were forced to punt. The Bucs started to punch holes in the Rams defensive strategies with powerful running and quick passes over the pass rush. The Bucs were able to drive down the field again and get another field goal (their 4th) to reduce the lead to 5 points.

Steven Jackson returned to the game and the Rams were only able to get to midfield before being forced to punt. The Rams got two first downs to take some pressure off their defense, but not quite enough to keep their defense out of the heat for long enough. Once again, the Rams offense fails to produce in the 2nd half and puts a huge amount of pressure on their defense to finish the game. The Rams were able to get a 3 and out when the backed up the Bucs inside the 20 yard line. The Rams offense could not drive far enough down the field to get the points they needed, but had to settle for a punt.
The Rams gave the Bucs a long field with 5 minutes remaining in the game with the Rams up 5 points. And the Bucs responded to that engraved invitation by driving down the field for a touchdown as the Rams were playing soft coverage. The touchdown pass was on a play where the Rams zone-blitzed and left on an island in zone against Cadillac Williams. A real Cadillac car could have gotten on open on the play.

Moral of the story is that the Rams played an absolutely horrible 2nd half against a team at home with 12 people in attendance that tried to give the game away to the Rams and the Rams did not even attempt to accept it. The win was gift wrapped by the Bucs and the Rams were not good enough in all the phases of the game to win. The Rams offense scored 0 points in the 2nd half and that is never going to be enough to win a game in the NFL. The Rams 2nd half “protect the lead” cocoon fails against a terrible Buccaneers team when it barely worked against the San Diego Chargers. Pathetic effort by the St. Louis Rams who somehow assumed they could just take a knee in the 2nd half and play soft defense and 17 points was going to be enough to win the game.

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