Rams Drop Game to Buccaneers 55-40
Face Seahawks Thursday Night
October 3, 2019
A Sunday wake-up call? Perhaps. The quick fix... Thursday Night Football in Seattle? The Los Angeles Rams took their worst beating under head coach Sean McVay this past Sunday. Quarterback Jamesis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pillaged the Rams at United Airlines Field in L.A. Memorial Coliseum, 55-40, before a startled crowd of 69,117.
"I think it's really a wake-up call for everybody. Ultimately, it's about finding a way to win football games. We didn't do that today, we make no excuses for it and we relish the opportunity to move forward the right way," responded McVay in very direct terms.
The Rams' saving grace is that they don't have time to dwell on their Sunday beating as they immediately focus on this Thursday Night Football's matchup against the Seahawks at CenterLink field in Seattle, Oct. 3. The 3-1 Seahawks are coming off a relatively easy 27-10 road-win over the Arizona Cardinals.
McVay: "We're going to find a way to look at ourselves and see if we can play better. We get an opportunity on Thursday and I think that's a blessing for us."
The Rams have beaten the West Division rival Seahawks six of the last eight contests between the two teams, including the last three as McVay holds a 3-1 record against his counterpart, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll, 35 years his senior. Last season the Rams beat the Seahawks 33-31 at Seattle and 36-31 in the Coliseum.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, in his eighth season, leads the league in passes completed with 72.9%. He has thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. He is averaging 285.3 passing yards per game, 20-plus yards better than his previous high. His quarterback rating of 118.7 is a career high but he's been sacked 12 times, currently sixth highest in the league.
The Buccaneers entered the Coliseum with a 1-2 record and 9.5- point underdogs to the previously undefeated 3-0 Rams. The Bucs were also coming off a demoralizing 32-31 loss to the previously winless New York Giants on a game-ending missed field goal. They left that all behind as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the Rams midway through the second quarter.
The Rams shot themselves in the foot from the opening kickoff when Greg Zuerlein kicked the ball out of bounds, giving the Bucs excellent field position at their 40-yard line. Winston needed only eight plays to set up Peyton Barber's 3-yard touchdown run. The Rams trailed for the rest of the game as the team couldn't make up for quarterback Jared Goff's four very costly turnovers.
McVay: "I think overall we've got to take better care of the football. We've got seven turnovers in the last two games and that's going to be really hard to win. Other than points, that's the greatest indicator of wins and losses... that turnover margin."
"They did a great job defensively applying that pressure and keeping it on all day," said Goff about the Bucs defense. "But ultimately, we need to execute better on offense and I need to execute better personally."
Goff was intercepted by Jordan Whitehead early in the second quarter. Winston responded with a 7-play drive ending with a 3-yard pass to Chris Goodwin. Goff was intercepted again three scrimmage plays later by Lavonte David, setting up a Winston to Goodwin 9-yard touchdown pass on the next play. Trailing by 21, the Rams were forced to recover by through the air.
Goff passed for a career-high 517 yards passing but on an astounding 68 pass attempts, a recipe for failure in the NFL. He rallied the Rams to trail 21-14 before Bucs kicker Matt Gay converted a crucial 58-yard field goal for a 24-14 Tampa Bay halftime lead.
Goff was intercepted for the third time in the third quarter by Shaquill Barrett. Six plays later Winston hit Cameron Brate for a 13-yard touchdown. They increased the lead to 45-27 minutes into the fourth quarter. Rams somehow managed to claw their way back when Marcus Peters intercepted a Winston pass and returned it 32 yards into the end zone.
Peters suffered a brutal hit on the pick-six and was assessed for concussion protocol. He cleared the assessment, not placed on concussion protocol and will be ready for the Seahawks game. Linebacker Bryce Hager suffered a stinger and safety Taylor Rapp injured his ankle. Both will be assessed day-to-day and their availability for Thursday will be a game-time decision according to McVay.
Goff's final turnover was the costliest with the Rams trailing 48-40 with possession of the ball, first down on the Tampa Bay 36-yard line with 1:17 remaining in regulation. Two plays later Goff fumbled the ball which was recovered by former Ram defensive end Ndamukong Suh and returned 37 yards for the final score.
Against the Seattle on Thursday Night the Rams need to reestablish the offensive balance they had midway through last season before Rams running back Todd Gurley suffered a knee injury. He rushed for two touchdowns against the Bucs yet only carried the ball five times for 16 total yards for the game. Primarily used as a safety valve out of the backfield, he caught seven passes for 54 yards.
"We wanted to get him involved," said McVay about Gurley getting more receiving than rushing touches. "The approach and the way that we ended up kind of wanting to attack those guys ended up being a little bit altered just based on the way the flow of the game played out."
"I control what I control. At the end of the day, we didn't get the win, whether I had 20 carries or two carries. Definitely want to get the win, that's the main thing, but Seattle next on Thursday," said Gurley.