Featuring two of the top defenses in the NFL and two of the top teams in the NFC, Monday night saw the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers go back and forth. Trailing by three points with just more than two minutes to play, Tom Brady took over only for Jordan Fuller’s second interception to seal it, the Rams defense fittingly securing a 27-24 win over the Bucs.
Los Angeles Rams 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
1) Jared Goff was at times outstanding on Monday and at others bewildering and the Rams’ top-flight receiving duo was stellar. But this was the epitome of who the 2020 Rams are – a team led and defined by a dominant defense. Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey and the bunch confounded Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense on the way to an emphatic win. Rookie Jordan Fuller’s second interception of Brady — each of them shockingly horrible throws by TB12 — fittingly wrapped up the contest, the Rams moving to 7-3 and keeping pace with the Seahawks atop the NFC West. Los Angeles has reaffirmed that it is indeed one of the NFC’s heavyweights and its defense is the catalyst for that ranking. On an evening in which the Rams’ terrific tandem of wideouts dazzled, the big-name Bucs WR corps of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown was held to a combined 159 yards receiving on 20 catches (7.95 yards per catch). Tampa Bay’s offense could only find its way to 251 yards of offense, its running game non-existent and its passing game fighting for every yard and losing that fight more often than not. Offenses will always receive top billing, a notion boldly underscored when Brady takes the field. But Monday night featured a matchup between two top-three defenses and it was L.A. which stood tall.
2) This is a mercurial band of Buccaneers with its aging all-star cast on offense particularly inconsistent. There have been times during this season in which Brady’s bunch has been brilliant and others when it’s been befuddling. Most of Monday night was the latter. Brady often looked confounded and out of sorts and at others just looked upset that Leonard Fournette or somebody else had bumbled an opportunity. But the Rams kept letting Brady and Co. hang around and get back in. After Sean McVay conservatively settled for a field goal to move ahead by the final score, Brady was given 2:32 to drive 81 yards to tie or win the game. This was set up for a Brady classic. Instead, Brady threw a jaw-dropping interception and the Bucs dropped to 7-4. It’s possible Brady and the offense are still finding themselves, settling in and that explains such mercurial play. Nonetheless, on this night, the Rams were infuriating in how they let the Bucs hang around, but Brady couldn’t make them pay in the end. When a moment was presented to the future Hall of Famer, he gave it right back. Once again, Tampa’s inconsistency seems to be the only aspect of certainty.
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