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Rams Hold Firm Defeating Bucs – NFC Title Game Next

Team Preparation Will Be “Key” To Victory…2 Down, 2 To Go

(Photo Credit): Los Angeles Rams

(East Los Angeles, CA) January 24, 2022 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The Rams had short week of preparation for yesterday’s NFC’s Divisional Round Playoff game, but Head Coach, Sean McVay may have envisioned that as a strong plus in his mind and heart of hearts. Number one, their road record shows an impressive and high percentage of wins in that category. And, number #2, he came here to Tampa Bay with a much more different roster for this NFC playoff encounter with the Bucs and Tom Brady. All that was left, was to play the game in front of millions of NFL fans for the right to move on to the Title Game this coming Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Needless to say, Ram fans from all over the City of Angels, and from many parts, from everywhere, were tuned in to this Clash of the NFL Titans. We hope you enjoy our account of the game. 

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

[Game Summary]: {1st Qtr} The Rams kicked off after deferring at the coin-toss decision. On Tampa Bay’s first possession, they steamrolled out with their power RB/#7/Leonard Fournette, coming back after his very long injury rehab. He racked up two quick first downs on their first series, but soon bogged down under the Rams “Front-Four” pressure and the Bucs punted to the Rams. On Tampa’s next possession, it was a very quick “3 & Out.” The Rams started their second drive at the (7:00) minute mark, from their 29 yard line. A completion to Beckham, Jr. for 9 yards followed by a pass interference call allowed the Rams to remain offensive-minded early in the contest.

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

On this possession, Coach McVay utilized the air game with plays called for Odell Beckham, Jr., and Tyler Higbee. He also showed run game with Cam Akers on the ground as the key factors in their opening drive. After the drive stalled, the Rams settled for a Matt Gay 26 yard field goal for the first score of the game, and a (3-0) lead at (8:01). Stafford and the Bucs, Ndamukong Suh, got into a verbal spat that resulted in a personal foul-unsportsmanlike conduct penalty levied against Suh for his remarks to Referee, Shawn Hochuli. This livened up the Rams and it resulted in a score on a 10 yard TD pass to tight end, Kendall Blanton, making the score (10-0) Rams at the (3:30) mark. Tampa’s next possession resulted in a successful 45 yard field goal attempt by Ryan Succop with (0:37) seconds left in the period, cutting the Rams lead to (10-3).

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

{2nd Qtr} The period started with a sack of Stafford. Next, on a 3rd & 20, Stafford found their “Triple Crown” player, Cooper Kupp open downfield and he added more “Yards-After-Catch” (YAC), as he turned on his moves to complete a 70 yard “Quick Strike” score, it was now (17-3) after the Gay PAT. This score came at the (14:28) mark. This part of the game went back & forth as both teams couldn’t gather any mmentumThe Bucs quickly went “3 & out.” Hekker’s punt at the (12:42) mark was a “touch-back” and the Bucs had the ball at their 25 yard line. When their drive stalled, it was time for Succop to attempt another field goal but it was wide right at (9:47). The Rams took possession from the line of scrimmage at their 38. On this drive, Stafford hooked up successfully with his receivers’ corps of Higbee, Kupp, and Beckham, Jr. good enough for a field goal by Gay from the 40 yard line with (2:19) left, moving the score up to (20-3), Rams.

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

Tampa returned the kick-off out to the 15. Aaron Donald & Co. then sacked Brady at the 7 yard line. Brady then dropped back to pass and was intercepted by #33/CB/Nick Scott at the Bucs 31. Akers number was then called for a 5 yard rush. Short passes to Higbee and Van Jefferson made it 1st & goal. Then, Akers was tackled and turned “head-over-heels” when the ball popped out and was recovered by the Bucs at the 1 yard line, with only (00:19) seconds left in the half. The officials’ ruling on the field was “player down by contact” and then challenged, but it was over-ruled by the Replay Review Staff.

[HALF-TIME SCORE]: Rams  20  Tampa Bay  3

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

{3rd Qtr} The Rams received the kick-off and started from their own 25 yard line. An Akers run and a 17 yard catch by OBJ gave them a 1st down. But here the Rams committed one of their biggest turnovers when there was a bad snap from center, causing a stampede to recover it. The Bucs did and ran it 5 extra yards to the Rams 45. Luckily, the Bucs could not fully capitalize on the miscue. A bit later, Hekker came on to punt and was credited with a fantastic punt that went out-of-bounds at the Bucs 5 yard line. Tampa couldn’t move the ball as Brady was kept under lots of pressure from the Rams “Front-4” and were forced to punt. On that punt, Brandon Powell returned it nicely some 33 yards down to the Bucs 28. Stafford then found his back-up TE/#86/Kendall Blanton, open for a sideline catch and a 1st down with (9:40) left. Stafford then went to Kupp who was ran out-of-bounds at the 13. And true to form, Stafford spotted OBJ on a check-off at the three, where he gathered it in with a beautiful “circus” catch, with his back to the sideline and as he managed to keep both feet in-bounds for the completion. Akers then ran it to 1 yard line. On a third & goal, Stafford scored on a QB sneak, moving the score to (27-3) Rams, with (7:11) left. The Rams tried to make it (30-13) with (6:36) left but Gay’s 47 yard field goal was missed.

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

But Brady and the Bucs stayed in the game on a huge 43 yard catch by Ron Gronkowski. This made it 1st & 10 on the 23. WR/Mike Evans then caught a pass on 4th down at 12. But, a “hurry” by #45/DL/Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and then an Aaron tackle of Fournette resulted in a no-gainer. Again, heavy heat and PRESSURE was applied by Donald’s crew up front. It resulted in a field goal attempt by Succop, which was good for his second score of the game, moving the numbers up to (27-6) with (3:06) left.

On the Rams ensuing drive, a good catch by Kupp earned positive yardage, but somehow he was stripped of the ball and it skidded on the field for a second or two when it was then scooped up by the Bucs at the Rams 35. With (2:45) left. Brady went to his favorite target, Gronkowski on 2 passes, one good, the other incomplete. He then went for it on 4th down and incredibly completed it to WR/Scotty Miller at the 15. Brady then found WR/Tyler Johnson at the 9 yard line. After an injury time-out, Brady then completed the scoring drive calling a “power-right” 1 yard dive to Fournette for the score at (00:19) seconds left in the period. The PAT was good and it was now, Rams 27, Bucs 13.

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

{4th Qtr} Rams went “3 & Out” to start the final period. On the Bucs next possession, at the (12:26) mark, an incomplete pass, followed by a penalty called on #20/CB/Eric Weddle for “unnecessary roughness” coming as the play ended. But, extremely fortunate for the Rams, it was ruled a “dead-ball” foul, thus, the ruling was only a 4th down incomplete pass. The personal foul against Weddle was enforced, but the ball remained in the Rams favor by rule, because it came after the ball had hit the turf. Then Coach McVay went to a deceptive or “trick” call when first, he had WR/Van Jefferson go around left end on a jet sweep, then added two more runs by Akers, and eventually a “catch & run” by Jefferson down to the Bucs 30 with (7:18) left. Opting for a three possession lead, Gay then missed a field goal attempt from 47 yards out at (6:36). Tampa took over with (6:25) left and they began to drive as Brady threw incomplete to Evans. However, a pass interference was called on Darious Williams. The Bucs could not convert after the penalty and turned the ball back over to the Rams. On their drive, the Rams also went “3 & Out.” Brady then became fixated on his “quick strike” mentality and he indeed connected with Evans for a 55 yard TD pass, coming at the (3:25) mark.

On their ensuing series after the kick-off, Akers, then fumbled a second time and the Bucs recovered at the Rams 28. On a 3rd & 10 and with  (1:10) left, Brady completed a pass to Miller, at the Rams 9, near the first-down chain. But, after a long and dramatic “time-out” for the exact measurement was taken, it was ruled short by an inch. Now, on the big 4th down gamble, and with no more time-outs, the Bucs called Fournette’s number again and he provided the tying score with a 9 yard unstoppable blast over right tackle with just (00:46) ticks left on the game clock. The PAT was good for the  (27-27) tie.

Photo Courtesy, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams, now with (00:42) seconds left after the kick-off, started firmly but calmly when Stafford dropped back and hit Kupp perfectly for a 20 yard gain. He then went back to Kupp who was covered in a questionable “man-to-man” and was hit in stride by Stafford, taking it down to the Bucs 12 yard line. The play covered a net of 44 yards. After rapidly, and greatly exhorting the rest of the team to get to the line of scrimmage for the spike, and stop the clock, the Rams had time to send their field goal team into the game and with only (00:03) seconds left, Coach McVay called on his excellent place-kicker, Matt Gay, for the winning kick, and deliver it he did. Game over as the “walk-off “ field goal, the way it was called by the game announcers, clearly sailed through the Raymond James Stadium uprights. And with a deafening silence consuming the Buccaneer fans, that one play profoundly ended their 2021 NFL season.

[FINAL SCORE]: Rams  (30)  Buccaneers  (27)

Although the Rams posted a nearly insurmountable number on the turnover chart, with the costly loss of four fumbles, the Biggest and Most Important stat of all was the proverbial Game Won“. The Rams have now met their destiny of marching on to a third game in the same season to face the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, 1/30/22 at 3:40 PM|PT.  The winner will move on for the right and unsurpassed opportunity of competing for the Super Bowl LVI title on 2/13/22 in SoFi Stadium

The game will be Broadcast on TV by FOX. To Listen on Radio: ESPN 710 AM; 93.1 JACK FM; Westwood One; and Tu Liga Radio 980 AM. The Rams Dream season is still alive and well! Vámanos Rams!! and Sí Se Puede!!!

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