The Los Angeles Rams handed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their first loss of 2021. Can Sean McVay’s club end the season for the defending Super Bowl champions?
Back in Week 3 at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams handed the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 34-24 setback. Now the teams square off in the divisional round of the playoffs, this time at Raymond James Stadium. With Tom Brady at the controls, Bruce Arians’ team has scored at least 30 points in five straight playoff games dating back to 2020.
3 reasons the Rams upset the Buccaneers
3. Sean McVay exploits Tampa’s run defense: This season, only the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans allowed fewer yards per game on the ground than Todd Bowles’ defensive unit. But this aspect of the Buccaneers’ defense certainly showed some cracks late in the year – even though Arians’ team rallied to win those games.
2. OLB Von Miller comes up big: He missed the entire 2020 season and then was slow out of the gate this year. The Denver Broncos opted to deal the Super Bowl 50 MVP to the Rams at midseason. And Miller has awoken in a big way. Including last week’s win over the Cardinals, he’s totaled at least one sack in five consecutive games. He’s totaled six quarterback traps and a forced fumble over that span.
1. QB Matthew Stafford takes care of the football: When these teams met in last September in Los Angeles, the veteran signal-caller hit on 27 of his 38 throws for 343 yards and four touchdowns. Stafford was sacked only once and he and the team played turnover-free football. But the 13-year veteran wasn’t super sharp when it came to ball security later in the year. Including last week’s win over the Eagles, the Buccaneers have 32 takeaways in 18 contests this season.
Sean McVay knows a little something about facing Tom Brady in a postseason game. The Rams’ last Super Bowl appearance (LIII) came in 2018, a 13-3 loss to the Patriots at Atlanta. So can the reigning NFC West champions complete a sweep of Bruce Arians’ talented squad?