Todd Bowles spent the 2022 offseason studying two teams that gave the Buccaneers fits ahead of his first season as their head coach in the Saints and the Rams.
Whatever he corrections he discovered against New Orleans worked, as the Bucs beat the Saints 20-10 in Week 2 to snap a four-game losing streak agains them. Heading into Week 9, he'll look to do the same against Los Angeles, which has won three straight against Tampa Bay, including last year's Divisional Round playoff game in Tampa.
"I don't if it's what you've seen. I think they executed better than us down the stretch," Bowles told Tampa Bay reporters, when asked what he saw in terms of common factors in those losses. "I think they executed certain situational football things better than we did at the time we played them, so hopefully we'll get better at that when we play them this time."
In that previous matchup in January, the Rams converted 4 of 11 third downs to the Bucs' 3 of 14, with 24 first downs to the Bucs' 20. Of course, the biggest situational moment the Rams came through in was when quarterback Matthew Stafford stood in the face of a zero blitz and completed a 44-yard pass to wide receiver Cooper Kupp to set up the game-winning field goal that sent them to the NFC Championship.
Beyond better execution in those moments, the Bucs will also look to contain a Rams offense that has scored at least 27 points in each of the previous three matchups.
"They have a very good offense, (Rams head coach Sean McVay) has a very good scheme that he runs, he's a very intelligent guy," Bowles said. "They can do power running, they can do edge running, they can do boot, quick game, they have deep game, they have a lot of guys that are very smart players. They do a very good job with the offensive line, they have some big guys down there, they protect each other very well. Just makes it tough to play when you have a signal-caller that tries to keep you off balance all the time."