The Los Angeles Rams have looked like a shell of themselves throughout the 2022 season, and their hopes of a postseason run may have been dashed in Week 9 when they inexplicably lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All afternoon, the Rams defense got pressure on Tom Brady, who was unable to find anything downfield. The unit forced several three-and-outs that put the offense in great position to score, yet the other side of the football was unable to capitalize.
The fourth-quarter offense has been particularly atrocious all year long, and it was no different against the Buccaneers as they failed to engineer a first down the entire period. Brady and Tampa Bay took full advantage, putting together a touchdown drive in 35 seconds to steal a 16-13 victory and all but extinguish any playoff hope for the Rams.
The first half was dominated by both defensive units as Matthew Stafford and Brady faced constant pressure anytime they dropped back to pass. Stafford did manage to find Cooper Kupp streaking on a go-route for a 69-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Los Angeles a 7-3 lead at halftime. However, that was the only notable offensive play as the rest of the team failed to clear 40 scrimmage yards.
The third quarter was a better showing for the Rams and their offense as Allen Robinson came down with a tough 15-yard reception on third down to keep their drive alive. Darrell Henderson later strung together two good runs on first down, one for 10 yards and the other for 23. The latter was the longest rush attempt for L.A. on the season.
Despite the runs, the Rams settled for a field goal to make it 10-6. After forcing another three-and-out and later a fourth-down stand, Los Angeles settled for another field goal to give them a 13-6 lead after three quarters.
Unfortunately, that would be the last time the Rams would score and the Buccaneers mounted their comeback. Tampa Bay put together a drive that was good enough for a field goal that made it 13-9. The Rams defense did its job and held strong to prevent a Buccaneer touchdown in the final two minutes, but the offense was unable to pick up a first down and immediately gave the ball back to Brady.
Brady picked apart L.A.’s soft zone coverage and Mike Evans eventually drew a defensive pass interference call that put Tampa Bay at the 1-yard line. Brady found Cade Otton for the easy walk-in touchdown and that would seal the Rams’ fate.
Next up for the Rams
The Rams head back home to play against the Arizona Cardinals, who are also struggling to find any positives throughout the season. At 3-5, it’s a must-win game for the Rams if they want to have any hope of getting back in the postseason picture.