The Los Angeles Rams head into this weekend 2-0 against the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what some think might be a preview of the National Football Conference Championship Game. The last time these two teams met was in November of 2020, with Tampa Bay defeating Los Angeles 27-24 in Florida.
Legendary wide receiver Isaac Bruce is convinced that the Los Angeles Rams are destined to do better, predicting that the team will be playing in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles later this season.
“I’m not just being a homer, but I feel like the Rams have a really big opportunity to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium” ~ Isaac Bruce
Bruce spent 14 seasons with the St. Louis Rams, and 2 more with the San Francisco 49ers, amassing 1,024 receptions, 15,208 receiving yards, and 91 receiving touchdowns. Bruce was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 and enshrined last month in a ceremony that combined the Centennial Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.
Three Rams Takeaways from Last Week
Cooper Kupp is an Elite Receiver
After averaging 93 receptions over the last two seasons, it should go without saying that Cooper Kupp is an elite receiver in the NFL, but he still has some detractors. After two games this season, any doubt should be cast aside. Last week the Los Angeles Rams wide receiver dominated.
Kupp caught the opening touchdown of the game, a 16-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford which capped an 8-play, 90-yard drive. He also caught the go-ahead touchdown that gave the Rams back the lead early in the fourth quarter, And finally it was Kupp who came up big late in the game with the key catch to set up Matt Gay’s field goal to go up, 27-24.
Two weeks into the season Kupp’s 271 yards are the third most in Rams franchise history, trailing Isaac Bruce’s 323 in 1998 and Henry Ellard’s 329 in 1989. He’s averaged 8-catches a game and is tracking for over 2000 receiving yards thus far.
Matthew Stafford is Embracing Fresh Start
Matthew Stafford has played 12 years in Detroit for the Lions and never won a playoff game. He’s looking to change that this season and absolutely embraced the opportunity. Stafford threw for 278 efficient yards against the Indianapolis Colts, bringing him to 599 yards through the first two weeks of the season. More importantly, two wins for a Rams team with high expectations.
In terms of performances, Staffords 599 yards rank fifth all-time through the first two weeks in Los Angeles Rams franchise history. He’s just the third Rams quarterback to start 2-0 and he’s already posting the best Yards-per-Completion (15.4) and Yards-per-Attempt (10.0) of his career.
The Buccaneer’s defense will likely be a challenge this weekend, but it appears that’s exactly what Stafford has been waiting for for the past couple of seasons.
Rams Defense Better than Expected
With Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and a stellar offensive line, few were concerned about the Rams’ ability to score points, putting the team’s defense under the microscope to start the season. They’ve been better than expected.
In two games the Rams’ defense has only given up 38 points, 5th best in the league heading into this weekend. More importantly, they’ve come up big when it’s mattered. Specifically, against the Indianapolis Colts last week. On the opening drive of the game, the Colts worked their way to first-and-goal on the Rams 1-yard line and came away with nothing.
Los Angeles defense stuffed the Colts on three running plays and sacked quarterback Carson Wentz on fourth down to set the tone for the game.