While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense kept their team in the game down the stretch, it was the Los Angeles Rams' defense who made the game-clinching play Monday night as the Rams escaped Florida with a three-point win.
On 2nd and 10 with 1:56 left in the game, Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball down the field to tight end Cameron Brate, but the forced pass by Brady was picked off by Rams' safety Jordan Fuller.
The Rams took a 27-24 lead with 2:40 remaining in the football game. The Bucs' defense was able to hold Los Angeles to a field goal after holding on third and eight. Rams' kicker Matt Gay nailed the go-ahead 40-yard field goal.
With the loss, the Bucs fall to 7-4 on the season and more specifically, 1-3 in night games.
Poor communication by the Rams secondary left Chris Godwin wide open as Antonio Brown picked up two defenders. Brady threw to Godwin who dove for the 13-yard touchdown and tied the game at 24 with 3:53 left in the game.
Brady finished the night passing for 216 yards completing 26-of-48 passes while throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions. Rams' quarterback Jared Goff threw three touchdowns and two interceptions as well, throwing for 376 yards on 39-of-51 passing.
With less than eight minutes left, Tampa Bay failed to convert on 4th and 1 giving the ball back to the Rams near midfield. Bucs' safety Jordan Whitehead intercepted Goff with 7:25 left in the game giving Brady another opportunity to tie the game.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, Goff got picked off by Jason Pierre-Paul when attempting to throw a screen pass to running back Darrell Henderson. Pierre-Paul read the play and jumped out to secure his second interception in as many weeks, becoming the first linebacker to have an interception in back-to-back games since Lavonte David did so in three straight games in 2013.
The turnover gave Tampa Bay favorable field position at the Rams' 22-yard line but only came up with three points. A wide-open dropped pass by Leonard Fournette on third down set up Bucs' kicker Ryan Succop for a 38-yard field goal tying the game at 17 with 12:46 left in the third quarter.
Los Angeles continued to have success throwing short passes that resulted in large amounts of yards, including a 16-yard pass from Goff to Robert Woods. The Rams, however, came up empty-handed on the drive as Matt Gay missed a 44-yard field goal which kept the game tied at 17 in the third quarter.
After the missed field goal, the Bucs gave the ball immediately back to the Rams when Brady under threw Godwin. Fuller kept his eyes on Brady and came up with the interception. Goff found a wide-open Josh Reynolds over the middle of the field for 18 yards. Goff then threw his third touchdown of the game to running back Cam Akers, who ran out of the backfield and turned to make the short catch. The Rams led 24-17 with 5:39 left in the third quarter.
The two teams exchanged punts late in the third quarter as Los Angeles led by a touchdown entering the fourth quarter.
The Rams got on the scoreboard first as Goff found Woods in the back of the end zone who ran across the field for the catch. Cooper Kupp, who caught five passes for 62 yards on the opening drive, broke free for a 37-yard grab, with the majority of the yards coming after the catch.
Following the catch, Los Angeles found itself at the Tampa Bay 12 yard line. On 3rd and 2 at the four yard line, linebacker Devin White jumped offsides giving the Rams a fresh set of downs deep inside the red zone. Then Goff connected with Woods for the score giving LA a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
Tampa Bay responded when Evans manhandled the Rams’ secondary making multiple pushes to score on a nine-yard pass from Brady. Evans became the first wide receiver in NFL history to have a touchdown in each of his first five Monday Night Football appearances, according to ESPN.
The scoring drive began with a pass interference call on Rams’ cornerback Jalen Ramsey as Brady targeted Evans deep down the field. After the 20-yard penalty, Chris Godwin caught his first pass of the game for six yards then caught a second for seven yards. Brady threw to Rob Gronkowski for 16 yards which set up the Bucs in the red zone. The touchdown tied the game at seven with 14:10 left in the second quarter.
The Bucs forced a Rams’ three-out and the next drive took the lead. Brady threw to tight end Cameron Brate twice on the drive for 16 total yards. On 3rd and 8 at the Rams’ 45-yard line, Scotty Miller got hit by Fuller as he went for the pass. Fuller got called for pass interference, which ended up being a 25-yard penalty. With Ramsey in coverage, Brady passed to Evans who caught the ball at the two-yard line. Fournette then punched it on a two-yard rush, giving Tampa Bay a 14-7 with 8:35 left in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay didn’t have a lead for long as the Rams tied the game at 14 with 4:31 left in the first half. Los Angeles converted two third downs on the drive, the first a 19-yard pass from Goff to Woods. The second was a free first down as linebacker Shaquill Barrett jumped offsides on 3rd and 2 at the Bucs’ 12-yard line. Goff took advantage and connected with rookie receiver Van Jefferson for seven yards. The rookie out of Florida caught his first career touchdown on the play.
The Bucs struggled on their next drive as Evans was forced to break up a pass that Rams’ safety John Johnson would have caught for an interception otherwise. Goff had just a minute to work with before the end of the half and threw a screen pass to Woods who ran down the field for 35 yards after deciding to try to score instead of going out of bounds. Goff was able to spike the ball to give Gay one second to nail a 38-yard field goal. The Rams led 17-14 at halftime.