When we look at the Buccaneers performance in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, the lack of pressure on Matthew Stafford by the front seven left the banged-up secondary exposed to pick up in man coverage and that is not how the Buccaneers win games; and they know It.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffer their first loss since November 2020 against the heavy hitters of the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams. The Buccaneers were on a 10-game winning streak and now trail a game behind the undefeated division leaders, the Carolina Panthers (3-0).
“We got off to a slow start, so I think anytime you do that you are fighting behind all day”, explained Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. “And I think we played a good team that didn’t turn the ball over. They played well offensively. And we didn’t make enough plays on offense early to take control.”
Buccaneers’ linebacker, Devin White, had some early opportunities on Stafford but then went cold after the first quarter and the secondary could not contain the Rams explosive receivers. Veteran wide receiver Desean Jackson had 3 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp had 9 receptions for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. Stafford was only sacked one time by William Gholston and the Buccaneers only have three sacks on the season which is extremely uncharacteristic.
“Yeah, the sacks are probably the biggest thing that disturbs me because we can rush the passer.” Explained Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. “Now we’re getting close; we’re not finishing deals. In the first [quarter] – think back to the start of the game – Joe [Tryon-Shoyinka] gets a good pressure, incomplete; Devin [White] gets a good pressure, incomplete; all of a sudden, the pressures are gone and it’s bam, bam, bam, here we go.The Bullets began to fly in the second quarter as the Rams went 95 yards to be the first to score with a pass to Tyler Higbee. Rams starting cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, broke up multiple passes to Tampa’s wide receiver Mike Evans, who struggled to create separation. The Rams defense was ruthless and made it difficult for the Buccaneers to remain consistent on offense and the frustration built on the field between Rams D lineman Aaron Donald.
Tampa’s starting cornerback, Sean Murphy-Bunting, has been put on the injury reserve list with a dislocated elbow he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys in week 1. Jamel Dean was the next man up but left the game early with a hip injury after missing some key coverage against Jackson and Cooper Kupp. Dee Delaney came off the bench but is a first-year player and was an unfavorable match-up against the Rams. Outside linebacker, Jason Pierre-Paul, has been dealing with multiply injuries with his Hand and shoulder and has not participated in practice.
The Buccaneers thrive on both sides of the ball. Their defense is what ultimately won them super bowl LV in Raymond James. Applying pressure and getting to the quarterback is Todd Bowles bread and butter with addition of a reliable secondary that would be there to pick off the deep balls. In the season opener the reliability of the secondary came into question with Dak Prescott throwing for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a deep ball to Ceedee Lamb. In week 2 the Tampa’s defense dominated in the fourth quarter catching two pick-sixes by Mike Edwards to seal the fate for the division rivals the Atlanta Falcons. LA’s Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw 4 touchdowns for 376 yards and zero interceptions to lead the Rams to a 34-24 victory over the Buccaneers in his brand-new home at SoFi Stadium.
The Buccaneers return to Tampa Bay 2-1 and prepare for week 4 against the New England Patriots for Sunday night football.