After losing their first four road games (including London), the Rams have gone 3-0-1 away from the Ed. Winning on the road is tough, especially with the youngest roster in the NFL.
The Rams took care of business in Tampa Bay, thanks to a five-turnover effort defensively. The offense scored three touchdowns, including 21 unanswered after Jeff Fisher’s “defer” theory proved successful again. Steven Jackson scored from five-yards out to end the first half, and Lance Kendricks opened the second half with a 80-yard catch and run TD down the seam.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Janoris Jenkins scored his 4th touchdown in 2012, tying him for second among the entire team, and it came at a key time. Sam Bradford had just tossed a pick of his own and the Rams defense had been on the field for 9:38 during the Bucs opening drive. Jenkins snatched Josh Freeman’s pass and scored from 41-yards out. And yes, Janoris now has four footballs for his four children.
- Rookie corner Trumaine Johnson had a pick, though he dropped about three other opportunities.
- Josh Freeman was eager to get after both men and attempted 17 balls combined into the coverage of the pair. Unfortunately for him the result was just seven completions for 75 yards with two picks and a pass break up. Real nice days to build on for 2013.
- The biggest turnover may have come on offense, when Barry Richardson alertly knocked the ball out of Leonard Johnson’s hands — who had scooped up a Danny Amendola fumble on the same play. Robert Turner recovered the ball, and the Rams had a new set of downs. Tampa led 3-0, and would have had the ball inside the Rams’ 20 yard line.
The Rams did a good job manufacturing field position, mostly in part to Johnny Hekker’s big day.
- Hekker had seven punts, including three over 50-yards, and dropped two inside the 20-yard line.
- When the offense got pinned deep, they created enough first downs to breathe.
Ran the football against the #1 rushing defense.
- 27 rushes for 89-yards may not seem like a lot, but they were grueling yards against a stacked box. S. Jackson ran for three first downs, and scored a touchdown.
- The Rams struggled in their 4-minute offense, where a first down wins the game. In essence, when both teams knew the Rams were rushing the football, the Bucs won the battle.
- The Rams improved to 6-1-1 when Jackson has at least 15 carries.
Dealt with playing with a lead, on the road.
- Sounds simple — but don’t be fooled. Freeman owns nine fourth-quarter comebacks, and has engineered 10 game winning drives.
- The Bucs went 0-4 on fourth down, twice inside the STL 10. Considering the Rams only won by 15-points, those stops were crucial.
The Austin Pettis goal line TD pass worked.
- All three of his touchdowns this year are on the same play…just don’t do it around Patrick Peterson.
- The line held up well, and snapped Bradford’s 30-game sack streak.
The Bucs threw the ball 54 times.
- Not an ideal recipe for winning.
Greg Schiano got out coached.
- He aggressively went for it on 4th down too early. The Bucs went 0-4 on 4th down tries.
- Michael Brockers completely clogged the gap on Freeman’s QB sneak, which was huge at the time.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Sam Bradford completed only 4-of-12 attempts when he had 2.6 seconds or longer to throw.
- Bradford was his typical self. Not bad, not great. Sure, he threw two touchdown passes, but he was terribly inaccurate and led numerous incompetent drives.
The Rams won a tough ballgame, but their biggest challenge awaits them next Sunday in Seattle, a place they haven’t won at since 2005.