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First Look: Rams host defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium in Week 3

Following a thrilling 27-24 win over the the Colts in Indianapolis in Week 2, the Rams turn their attention toward a Week 3 home contest against the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium in Week 3 (1:25 p.m. pacific time, FOX).

In advance of the contest, here is your first look at Rams-Bucs, powered by Verizon:

Notable Bucs additions

  • Drafted OLB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka 32nd overall year's draft: Though Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquill Barrett hold down the starting outside linebacker spots in Tampa Bay's defense, Tryon-Shoyinka is notable not only as the Bucs' highest draft choice this year, but because of the way he was deployed as a reserve against the Cowboys in Week 1. Prior to opting out of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL Draft, Tryon-Shoyinka tallied 61 total tackles (14.5 for loss), nine sacks and two pass breakups across two years at the University of Washington.
  • Signed RB Giovani Bernard to a one-year deal on April 14: Most of the early-down work in Tampa Bay's running back rotation goes to Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, which leaves Bernard as more of a third-down, pass-catching back. Bernard has caught 4 of 5 targets for 28 yards through two games.

Top performers in Week 2

QB Tom Brady completed 24 of 36 pass attempts for 276 yards and five touchdowns with one lost fumble in the Buccaneers' 48-25 win over the Falcons.

Fournette paced Tampa Bay's backfield with 11 carries for 52 yards, both team0highs

WR Mike Evans and TE Rob Gronkowski each caught two of Brady's five touchdown passes; Evans was the Bucs leading receiver with five catches for 75 yards while Gronkowski was third with four catches for 39 yards. WR Chris Godwin (4 receptions, 62 yards) accounted for the fifth.

Defensively, the Bucs intercepted Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan three times – safety Mike Edwards snagged two of them and returned both of touchdowns, while Barrett accounted for the third.

On special teams, K Ryan Succop made six of seven extra point attempts, while P Bradley Pinion averaged 47.3 yards per punt across five punts.

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

For an NFL team, there's no better in-season evaluation opportunity than the chance to face the reigning Super Bowl champion.

Look no further than last year, when the new-look Buccaneers hosted the Chiefs in Week 12 and lost 27-24. Whatever shortcomings led to the result and dropped them to 7-5 on the season, the Buccaneers clearly learned from, as they closed the season with a four-game win streak and eventually hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after a 31-9 victory over the Chiefs in Raymond James Stadium.

The Rams get that same privilege this year but at a much earlier juncture, with a similar backdrop of the chance to play in the Super Bowl on their home turf.

For the Rams' defense – especially its secondary – Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (NFL-leading nine touchdown passes, plus fifth-most passing yards per game at 327.5) presents their biggest opportunity yet to measure its progress and how it stacks up against one of the league's top offenses. And for the Matthew Stafford-led Rams offense, this is a chance to see where they stand against a Bucs defense that returns all of its starters from last year's championship team.

Ultimately, there will be lessons learned regardless of the outcome, but a win on Sunday would be big.

Check out the best photos from the Los Angeles Rams Week 2 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

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