• Rams free safety John Johnson, left, breaks up a pass intended for Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans during the first half of Monday night’s game in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Robert Woods #17 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after scoring a 4 yard touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) runs by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) after intercepting a pass by Goff during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: The first all-Black officiating crew works tonight’s football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams calls a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams looks on during the second quarter in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Troy Hill #22 of the Los Angeles Rams holds the leg of Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Mike Evans #13 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after scoring a 9 yard touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the first quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams runs the ball against the Los Angeles Rams during the first quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Rams receiver Cooper Kupp tries to evade a Tampa Bay defender during the first quarter of Monday’s game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Rams quarterback Jared Goff looks to pass during the second quarter of Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Jordan Whitehead #33 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles Darrell Henderson #27 of the Los Angeles Rams during the first quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams scrambles from Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Cam Akers #23 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates with head coach Sean McVay after a touchdown during the third quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Cam Akers #23, Darrell Henderson #27, and Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrate following a touchdown during the third quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fails to stop Darrell Henderson #27 of the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Cam Akers #23 of the Los Angeles Rams carries the ball during the fourth quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) celebrates with quarterback Jared Goff (16) after Woods caught a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) breaks a tackle to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) beats Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) to score on a 7-yard touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) gets around Los Angeles Rams defensive back Darious Williams (31) to score on a 9-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to pass during the fourth quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams is tackled by Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter in the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 23: Chris Godwin #14 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scores on a 13-yard pass during the fourth quarter in the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Raymond James Stadium on November 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) celebrates with quarterback Jared Goff (16) after Woods caught a touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) beats Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) to score on a 7-yard touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes around Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) is hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Kevin Minter (51) after scoring on a 4-yard receptiong during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins (58) and strong safety Jordan Fuller (32) upend Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (28) runs against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) runs after a catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams’ Matt Gay (1) kicks and extra point against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams free safety John Johnson (43) breaks up a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Sabitus)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) gts away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean (35) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) works against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones (27) runs against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett (81) gets hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers strong safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) celebrates after sacking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Samson Ebukam (50) sacks Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) scores on a 9-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson (27) is hit by Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) gets around Los Angeles Rams defensive back Darious Williams (31) to score on a 9-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) celebrates his score against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates with inside linebacker Devin White (45) after Pierre-Paul intercepted a pass by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers (23) runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) is pressued by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins (58) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)

  • Los Angeles Rams fans during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

of

Expand

Through ups and downs this season, the Rams had responded to their most anticipated challenges in games against other rising playoff contenders. Outduel the Bears’ defense in prime time? Done. Shoot down the Seahawks’ offense in a division showdown? Check.

Could they do it against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have a talented offense and one of the NFL’s best defenses?

They were tested, but yes.

With Jared Goff and receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp outshining their Buccaneers counterparts, safety Jordan Fuller and the defense stepping up again, and kicker Matt Gay supplying the decisive field goal, the Rams beat the Bucs, 27-24, on Monday night in front of a limited crowd at Raymond James Stadium.

Goff outshined Brady, completing 39 of 51 passes of 376 yards and three touchdowns.

Woods and Kupp took over the offense from the running backs, combining for 23 receptions for 275 yards. Kupp had 11 receptions for 145 yards and Woods finished with 12 catches for 130 yards

But it came down to the defense after a 40-yard field goal by Gay in his first Rams game gave them a three-point lead with 2:36 left.

The Rams broke a 17-17 tie in the third quarter when rookie safety Jordan Fuller intercepted a long Brady pass and the offense went 37 yards to rookie Cam Akers’ first NFL touchdown, a 4-yard catch and run.

Then the defense stepped up with its usual second-half flair.

But Fuller’s second interception of the night, on a deep pass by Brady right after the two-minute warning, effectively ended it.

The defense allowed one second-half touchdown, a 13-yard connection between Brady and a wide-open Chris Godwin to tie the score again with 3:53 remaining.

Overall, it held Brady to 26 for 48 for 246 yards, two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Early, it was all Rams offense.

They had scored on their first drive and led at the end of the first quarter five times in their first six victories, and were especially eager to jump ahead of Tampa Bay early.

A Rams lead might force Brady to pass. The predictability could help Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd to rush the Bucs’ artful codger. And it could help Jalen Ramsey, Darious Willams and the secondary contain his four Pro Bowl receivers.

Not so fast.

Their intentions clear from the start, Goff completed seven of eight passes on an 80-yard drive. Kupp caught five of those for 62 of Goff’s 72 yards. Woods caught a 4-yard touchdown throw.

But it would be a back-and-forth half.

Brady brought the Bucs right back, helped by a third-down pass interference penalty on Ramsey, then helped by Mike Evans taking a pass from the 9-yard line and breaking tackles by Troy Hill and Darious Williams to stretch the ball over the goal line.

It was 14-7 Bucs after a pass interference call on Fuller and an 18-yard Brady pass to Evans set up Leonard Fournette’s 2-yard touchdown run.

The Rams responded.

Goff continued to work his wide receivers, leading to a 7-yard throw for rookie Van Jefferson’s first NFL touchdown to tie it.

Getting the ball back at their 19 with 1 minute on the clock, the Rams got a 35-yard catch and run by Woods to get in position for Gay’s first L.A. field goal, a 38-yarder as the half ended.

Gay, the Rams’ third kicker of the season, later pushed a 44-yard attempt to the right. That problem didn’t appear solved. But the winning field goal salved that wound.

The Rams’ 17-14 halftime lead was significant. They were 31-0 in the Sean McVay era in games they led at the break.

They nearly threw it away.

On the Rams’ third play of the second half, Goff tossed an easy interception to Jason Pierre-Paul to give Brady the ball at the 22. But the defense let them pay a cheap price, holding Tampa Bay to a tying field goal.

More to come on this story.

###

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *