The Rams desperately needed a win against the Buccaneers in Week 9. Neither team has looked good this season, and Tampa Bay had been particularly bad having lost three straight, so Sunday’s game was critical for the Rams.
Yet, they blew a 13-9 lead with a minute left and gave up the Buccaneers’ only touchdown of the game with 9 seconds left. There was some good but a lot of bad in this performance by Los Angeles.
Here are our studs and duds.
Stud: Cooper Kupp
Kupp always seems to be a thorn in the Buccaneers’ side, once again putting up a big performance on Sunday. He caught eight passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 69-yard bomb from Matthew Stafford. His ankle injury didn’t seem to hamper him whatsoever, leading the Rams in receiving and proving to be the team’s primary source of offense – again.
Stud: Terrell Lewis
Lewis came alive a little bit in this one. He was getting more playing time than Justin Hollins and made the most of it. He recorded a tackle for a loss on a running play in the first half, not long after he nearly picked off a screen pass that went right through his hands. The Rams would love if he started to play more consistently, providing some pressure opposite Leonard Floyd.
Stud: Aaron Donald
Donald has had a hard time racking up the sacks this season because teams throw the ball so quickly, but he’s still having a positive impact each and every week. This game was no exception. He came up with a clutch sack on fourth-and-2 in the third quarter, setting the Rams up with great field position. He landed another hit on Brady earlier in the game, too, doing what he could to generate some pressure against the Bucs’ quick passing attack. In the fourth quarter, he batted a pass as he was bearing down on Brady, forcing another punt by Tampa Bay.
Stud: Bobby Wagner
Wagner made plays on defense and special teams Sunday, not only leading the team in tackles, but also blocking a field goal attempt by leaping over the line and getting his left arm on the kick. He then recovered it himself, too. He’s been every bit the stud linebacker the Rams thought he would be when they signed him this offseason.
Stud: Jalen Ramsey
The Buccaneers had a chance to take the lead with less than 2 minutes left but Ramsey undercut the route by Mike Evans and nearly intercepted it, forcing a turnover on downs. The Rams took over on downs but later gave up the game-winning touchdown to Tampa Bay. He did give up a few catches to Mike Evans but for the most part, he held No. 13 in check and was solid as a tackler.
Dud: Bobby Evans
It’s time for the Rams to make a change at guard. Evans is not the answer. Plain and simple. He looked way overmatched on the left side, failing do block Vita Vea at all in this game. Far too many times, he either allowed pressure and collapsed the pocket, or he flat-out gave up a sack. He allowed two bad sacks to Vea, who admittedly is an excellent player, but he barely got a hand on the big man. In total, Evans gave up three sacks.
Dud: Derion Kendrick
Kendrick has become a starting cornerback alongside Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill, and at times, he’s looked capable of holding his own. But he gave up a third-down catch to Julio Jones in the first quarter and was called for defensive pass interference in the second quarter to set up a Buccaneers field goal. Even worse, he had a pass interference penalty with 13 seconds left to set up the Buccaneers’ game-winning touchdown, which he allowed.
Dud: Van Jefferson
Jefferson doesn’t look like himself yet. On his first target of the season, Jefferson dropped a wide-open crosser about 25 yards down the field. It was slightly low so he had to slide, but it hit him between the numbers. In total, he was targeted five times but didn’t record a single reception.