The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, 37-32. Here are the three biggest takeaways from this NFC Showdown on Sunday afternoon.
The Los Angeles Rams have back-to-back wins on the season by putting together a solid offensive performance for once by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 37-32.
Los Angeles improves to 2-1 on the year and believe it or not are in sole possession of first place in the NFC West. Beating the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 gives the Rams the head-to-head tiebreaker heading into Week 4.
For Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers fall to 1-2 on the year. That’s not where quarterback Jameis Winston wants his team to be. If there is any consolation prize, the Carolina Panthers are also 1-2 after their dud at home to the Minnesota Vikings.
Only the Atlanta Falcons have a shot at improving to 2-1 on the year after Week 3. The New Orleans Saints are winless in their home date with the Falcons on Monday Night Football. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Week 3 game between the Rams and Buccaneers:
1. The Rams figured out how to score touchdowns
It happened. The Rams scored themselves some touchdowns in Week 3 against Tampa Bay. Los Angeles got into the end zone in several different ways on Sunday.
The Rams had a great pass and catch from quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Kenny Britt for Los Angeles’ first aerial strike of 2016. Star running back Todd Gurley had a pair of one-yard touchdown runs. Defensive end Ethan Westbrooks even had a 77-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown put Los Angeles up 31-20 on the Buccaneers. Keenum would connect with wide receiver Tavon Austin late in the fourth quarter.
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Getting into the end zone was huge for Los Angeles. Head coach Jeff Fisher knows that he has a great defensive team and a talented one on special teams. Points may still be hard to come by for this defense-first 2016 Rams club, but they showed on Sunday that they can actually get into the end zone in an NFL regular season game.
2. The Buccaneers defense looks like the one that got Mike Smith fired from the Atlanta Falcons.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense is looking like one of the very worst in football through the first three weeks. Tampa Bay has surrendered at least 24 points each game this season and over 37 in the last two.
While Tampa Bay has a strong offensive-minded head coach in Dirk Koetter, maybe it wasn’t such a good thing to bring aboard Koetter’s former head coach with the Atlanta Falcons in Mike Smith.
Smith had been a respectable defensive coach with the Falcons, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Baltimore Ravens before landing in Tampa Bay in 2016, but the Buccaneers have too much talent to be this bad.
Weak scheme, poor discipline, and bad tackling is making the 2016 Buccaneers defense look like some of the atrocious ones Smith coached in Atlanta that got him and his staff fired in 2014.
3.There is no home field advantage for the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
For whatever reason, the Buccaneers do not seem to play their best ball at home. Entering play on Sunday, Tampa Bay had gone 3-14 in its last 17 games at Raymond James Stadium. If Tampa Bay wants to push for the NFC Playoffs anytime soon, the Buccaneers will have to be at least a .750 team at home.
By falling to the Rams at home, the Buccaneers have now dropped 15 of their last 18 games at Raymond James Stadium. This was the Buccaneer’s home opener in 2016. Many thought that Tampa Bay would be ready to push for the NFC Playoffs this season.
However, its inability to play with any sort of dominance at home probably means Tampa Bay will be sitting at home in January for the 10th consecutive winter. If any team in football wants a crash course in how to not protect one’s house, give the Buccaneers a buzz and they’ll tell you what’s up: the other team’s point total.