TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their work cut out for them in their Division Playoff match against the L.A. Rams at Raymond James Stadium Sunday.
The L.A. Rams got the scoring started early in the first quarter with Matt Gay’s 26-yard field goal. The Bucs were scoreless in the next possession, and when the Rams got the ball again, Stafford found Blanton for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 3:05 left in the first, quickly making the score 10-0 already.
The Buccaneers finally got on the board late in the second quarter with Ryan Succop’s 45-yard field goal.
Bucs’ emotions ran high in the first half. Lavonte David was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first minute of the second quarter for slamming his helmet on the ground after Stafford found Kupp for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
At 10:39, Jalen Ramsey and Howard sacked Brady, causing his mouth to bleed, and no penalty was called. Brady cursed out the referee, which got him a penalty with the potential for disqualification.
With 2:00 left in the first half, the Rams’ Scott intercepted Brady’s pass intended for Gronkowski.
The Rams maintained their 20-3 lead at halftime.
The Buccaneers offense came alive in the third quarter, scoring twice to close the gap. After Stafford scrambled one yard for a touchdown, the Bucs’ Ryan Succop kicked a successful
L.A.’s Von Miller made a double whammy early in the fourth by not only sacking Brady, but forcing a fumble and recovering it for the Rams.
Rams QB Matt Stafford nullified Miller’s effort with the very next play, however. Stafford was distracted on the snap and missed it completely, forcing him backwards on yards and causing an epic scramble for the ball, which was ultimately recovered by Tampa’s Jason Pierre-Paul.
With 6:36 left in the game, Gay attempted a 47-yard field goal, but it fell short.
The Buccaneers closed their point deficit with a touchdown on their next possession. Brady found Mike Evans with a 55-yard bomb, making the score 27-20.
At 2:32 left in the game with the Rams on the ball, Tampa Bay’s Ndamukong Suh made the crowd roar by forcing a fumble, which Lavonte David recovered, returning possession to Tampa Bay.
While there was a debate on the Bucs’ fourth down about whether it was instead a first down, the 4th down ruling standing didn’t matter. Brady handed the ball to Fournette, who ran it in for an epic touchdown. With Bryan Succop’s extra point, the game tied 27-27.
On the Rams’ next possession, Stafford fumbled the ball, but recovered it. On second and third downs, he completely turned the tables of the game’s outcome with two long bombs to Cupp: the first for 20 yards, and the next–which put the Rams on the 10-yard line–for 44-yards. As soon as Kupp completed the pass, Stafford urgently summoned everybody forward as he scrambled to the 10-yard line to kick a field goal.
With just eight seconds on the clock, Gay’s successful 30-yard field goal broke the Bucs’ hard-earned tie and secured the Rams’ victory–while ejecting Brady and the Bucs from another shot at the Lombardi Trophy.