Working with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has their offense ranked ninth in the NFL in passing yards per game and tied with the Cardinals for sixth in scoring. They've counted on a committee approach at running back, a quarterback with two of the league's top wide receivers and benefitted from stout defensive play.
So too have the Rams heading into Monday night's game (5:15 p.m. PT, ABC7/ESPN).
"(Quarterback) Jared (Goff) is playing very, very well, protecting the football," Arians said during a video conference with Buccaneers and Rams beat writers Thursday morning. "They're running the ball well. Their play action game is outstanding. Defensively, I mean, that might be the best second half defense in the league right now. Kicking game, (punter Johnny) Hekker is one of the best in the game right now."
Arians has perhaps had a better sense of Goff's development than most coaches outside of the Rams division. Goff's first two seasons with the Rams overlapped with Arians' final two as head coach of the Cardinals, and Arians also has last year's game between the Rams and Bucs in Los Angeles to reference.
Through L.A.'s first nine games, Goff has completed 66.36 percent of his pass attempts – his career-best for a single season is 64.9 in 2018 – for 2,447 yards, with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
"Yeah, I think since he's been with Sean, he's just grown and grown," Arians said. "And it looks like they have great chemistry together as a coach/play caller and a quarterback. I just see continued growth – protecting the football, accuracy on the move, down the field. I just see really steady growth and (him) turning into a heck of a player."
The Bucs backfield, at least heading into the season, had the makings of a committee approach rotating Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy. While that still holds partially true, they've become comfortable leaning on whoever gets the hot hand, as seen with some of Jones' recent performances. With McCoy banged up, it's been more of a Jones-Fournette tandem.
Similarly, the Rams also had plans for a committee approach, but Darrell Henderson Jr.'s explosive start to the season, Cam Akers' Week 2 rib injury, and Malcolm Brown's reliability in pass protection made them comfortable with a Henderson-Brown tandem for most of the first half of the season. With Akers healthy, though, Week 10 finally gave Los Angeles a chance to deploy the balanced attack it desired.
Collectively, that trio rushed 23 times for 99 yards and three scores in the Rams' 23-16 win over the Seahawks last Sunday. Henderson leads the Rams with 102 carries for 486 yards, followed by Brown with 81 for 347. Brown's five rushing touchdowns lead the backfield, while Henderson's four rank second.
"They've got three backs really that are just fresh all the time," Arians said. "They're different, but they're also very similar. The style of what they do with each one is pretty much the same, and they've added some more power game, some more gap-scheme stuff. That makes them a little bit harder to defend."