TAMPA, Fla. – The Rams (3-5) fell to the Buccaneers 16-13 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, with quarterback Tom Brady's 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Cade Otton with 9 seconds remaining the difference.
It was a tough result for Los Angeles which, up until that point, had generated multiple timely plays in all three phases to maintain a lead and keep Tampa Bay (4-5) at bay.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp had a 69-yard touchdown catch and added a 34-yard reception on his way to 127 yards on eight catches in addition to that score. Meanwhile, running back Darrell Henderson Jr. broke off Los Angeles' longest run of the season with a 23-yard gain on a drive that led to a field goal. On defense, the Rams had the Bucs to three field goals until the late touchdown, with linebacker Bobby Wagner blocking a 52-yard attempt on special teams.
The Rams had initially denied the Bucs' first go-ahead touchdown try when defensive back Jalen Ramsey broke up Brady's fourth-and-goal pass intended for wide receiver Mike Evans in the back of the endzone. But the Rams were forced to punt on the ensuing possession that began at their own 7 after the turnover on downs, and that advantageous field position for the Bucs from their own 40 – along with the 54 seconds remaining – was enough for them to convert the second time around.
Here is the complete game recap:
After a 3-and-out by the Rams on the opening series, the Bucs used a 17-yard punt return by Jaelon Darden to bring them to their own 44 yard line. That field position translated to a chip-shot field goal for a 3-0 Tampa Bay lead midway through the first quarter after Tampa Bay marched to the Los Angeles 3-yard line but was stopped on 3rd down.
The Rams got on the board with a 69-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to a wide-open Kupp to take the lead 7-3 early in the second quarter.
A blocked field goal by Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner set Los Angeles up at its 40, but it was unable to take advantage of that field position and forced to punt. On the ensuing drive, a 38-yard field goal by Tampa Bay cut L.A.'s lead to 7-6 just before halftime.
Using a pair of big runs by running back Darrell Henderson Jr., the Rams reached the Bucs 8, but three plays later were forced to settle for a 26-yard field goal by kicker Matt Gay after Stafford's incomplete pass intended for Robinson on 3rd and 7. That left the Rams with a 10-6 lead with 9:16 left in the third quarter.
The Bucs used another good punt return by Darden – this time 15 yards, and also aided by the Rams having to punt from deep in their own territory after being pinned there – to gain strong field position at their own 47 with 5:21 left in the third quarter. However, they were also forced to go for it on 4th and 2 from the Rams 45, and ended up turning the ball over on downs as quarterback Tom Brady got sacked by Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald for an 8-yard loss.
Taking over at the Bucs 47, the Rams shortly thereafter used an explosive 34-yard completion from Stafford to Kupp to reach the Bucs 10. However, Stafford getting sacked for a 9-yard loss two plays later led to a 3rd-and-19 the Rams were unable to convert, forcing them to settle for a 35-yard field goal, making it 13-6 Rams with 9 seconds to go in the third quarter.
A 50-yard field goal by Succop cut the Rams' lead to four with 8:07 remaining. And the Bucs would not go away quietly.
Aided by a series of completions from Brady to wide receiver Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay reached the Rams 6 with 2:50 remaining. But back-to-back drops by Miller and tight end Cade Otton left it facing 4th and goal from the Rams 6 with 2:02 remaining. Brady looked for Evans, but the pass was incomplete as Ramsey broke it up in the back of the endzone.
However, the Rams were forced to punt on the ensuing drive, doing so from deep in their own territory with 54 seconds left.
Again, the Rams would need another stop. Starting at their own 40 off that punt, the Bucs quickly reached Rams territory via a 28-yard completion from Brady to Otton, then reached the Rams 1-yard line five plays later. With only 9 seconds left after that touchdown pass, there wasn't enough time for the Rams to answer.
The Los Angeles Rams take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a Week 9 matchup at Raymond James Stadium. Take a look at photos from the matchup!