First Look: Rams return to Coliseum to host Buccaneers

A 20-13 win over the Cleveland Browns last week moved the Rams to 3-0. Now, Los Angeles returns to the Coliseum to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The two teams squared off during the Rams' first season back in Los Angeles in 2016 but haven't played one another since until this week. L.A. leads the all-time series 16-8.

In advance of the contest, here's an early look at the Buccaneers, including notable additions, their top statistical performers so far, where they rank in certain statistical categories and key storylines.

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Notable additions

  • Signed LB Shaquil Barrett as an unrestricted free agent in March. Now in his sixth NFL season, Barrett tied an NFL record set in 1984 with eight sacks through the first three games. Those eight sacks also lead the league. The former undrafted free agent spent his first five years with the Denver Broncos before signing a one-year deal with the Buccaneers this offseason.
  • Signed punter Bradley Pinion as an unrestricted free agent in March. A 2015 fifth-round pick by the 49ers, Pinion spent his first four years in San Francisco before joining the Tampa Bay. He replaced Bryan Anger, the Bucs' starter each of the previous three seasons who signed with the Houston Texans this offseason.

Top performers in Week 3

QB Jameis Winston completed 23 of 37 pass attempts for 380 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the Bucs' 32-31 loss to the Giants. His total passing yards and touchdowns were both season-highs. The 380 yards also marked the fourth-highest single game total of Winston's five-year career.

RB Ronald Jones II led the Browns' backfield with 14 carries for 80 yards, but effectively split carries with RB Peyton Barber, who tallied 13 carries for 48 yards.

WR Mike Evans Jr. was on the receiving end of all three of Winston's touchdowns, adding eight catches for a game-high 190 yards. It the first three-touchdown game of Evans' career. Evans was also the first Bucs receiver to snag at least three touchdowns in a single game since October 20, 1985, when Jimmie Giles had four against the Miami Dolphins according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Defensively, Barrett carried the unit with a team-high six tackles plus four sacks.

On special teams, rookie kicker Matt Gay – a fifth-round pick in this year's NFL draft – was 4 for 5 on field goal attempts, the lone miss coming on a 34-yard try that would've been the game-winner for Tampa Bay. He was also just 1 for 3 on extra point attempts.

Rankings

Offense

  • Points Per Game: Tied for 13th (22.7)
  • Yards Per Game: 14th (361.0)
  • Passing Yards Per Game: 20th (239.3)
  • Rushing Yards Per Game: 8th (121.7)

Defense

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 22nd (25.7)
  • Yards Allowed Per Game: 14th (330.7)
  • Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 21st (261.0)
  • Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 6th (69.7)

Check out the best photos from the Rams win over the Browns on SNF!

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

The kicking phase of Tampa Bay's special teams – specifically field goals and punts – has endured both recent and season-long struggles.

Gay missed a chip-shot game-winning field goal and a pair of extra point attempts which would later come back to haunt the Bucs in their 1-point loss to the Giants. Pinion, meanwhile, has the second-lowest net average in the NFL at 37.0 yards per punt.

Defensively, Barrett is going to be keeping the left side of the Rams' offensive line busy given his early-season success.

Thus, at first glance, special teams is an area the Rams will look to take advantage of, while containing Barrett will be key for a young offensive line.

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