A thrilling comeback amounted to nothing as the Bucs dropped their divisional round matchup to the Rams 30-27. The Bucs ineptitude to get anything going offensively and stop the Rams defensively played a huge role in their first half struggles and ultimate loss.. Thought they were able to mount an impressive comeback in the second half the game was lost late on a walk-off Matt Gay field goal. The offensive line really felt the loss of Tristan Wirfs, turning in one of their worst performances of the season. Tom Brady had virtually no time to pass.

Brady finished the game 30-54 for 329 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He was sacked three times and also had a fumble on the day. Mike Evans finished as the team’s leading receiver with eight catches for 119 yards. While Rob Gronkowski finished with four catches and 85 yards. The Bucs barely ran the ball, but Leonard Fournette finished with 51 yards on the ground, including the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. He added nine catches for 56 yards through the air.

The defense struggled mightily against the pass. They had no answer for Cooper Kupp yet again, allowing him to gain 183 yards on nine catches. Matt Stafford had 366 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air. The defense did come up with four fumble recoveries and a sack, but for the most part could not get consistent pressure on Stafford.

First Half Woes

Starting with the ball, the Bucs got two productive first down runs from Fournette before two incompletions stalled the drive. Off the punt, the Rams wasted little time moving down the field. Tampa Bay’s defense came up with a huge red zone stop, holding Los Angeles to just three points. Brady’s next possession on offense ended in a three-and-out, the Bucs punting it away.

Matt Stafford continued to find open receivers down the field on his next drive. Aided by a defensive pass interference and a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the Rams found the end zone. A touchdown reception by Kendall Blanton gave Los Angeles a 10-0 lead. Just as it looked like the Bucs might be getting something going on offense, another failed third-down conversion forced Tampa Bay to settle for a field goal.

A kick out of bounds on the kickoff gave the Rams offense the ball at the 40-yard line to start their drive. A sack by Vita Vea set up a third-and-20, but Stafford found Cooper Kupp for a 70-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams a 17-3 lead. Another three-and out for the Bucs and a good punt return set Los Angeles up near midfield. Tampa Bay’s defense finally came up with a stop when they needed one in a big way.

Again the Bucs offense started moving down the field, finding rhythm utilizing Evans and Fournette in the passing game. But another failed third-down conversion forced a field goal attempt from 48 yards out. But Ryan Succop’s kick sailed wide right. Los Angeles was able to move into Bucs territory on their next possession. However, another stop by the defense held the Rams to just three points.

Down by 17, the Bucs desperately needed a score. Instead Brady was sacked on first down and threw an interception on the very next play. Already in field goal position, the Rams looked poised to extended their lead. A forced fumble and recovery by Antoine Winfield Jr. saved what could’ve been a disastrous series before the half.

Bucs Second Half Comeback Falls Short

With the Rams receiving the ball after half, the Bucs defense desperately needed a stop. They got the stop, but the offense sputtered once again with yet another drop on third down and had to punt. A nice return set Los Angeles up at the Bucs 28-yard line. Six plays later, Stafford punched it in from the one on a sneak. Brady led the Bucs on a 62-yard drive on his next series, but had to settle for three points.

Down 27-6, Tampa Bay need a splash play to remain in the game and the defense provided it. Jamel Dean forced a fumble, which was recovered by Sean Murphy-Bunting. Set up at the 30-yard line, Fournette ran it in from the one-yard line to cut the Rams lead to 14. Then the Bucs defense came up with a huge three-and-out. On the offense’s first play Von Miller got to Brady and forced and recovered a fumble giving the Rams the ball at the 25-yard line.

On Los Angeles first play after the fumble, the snap went over Stafford’s head and was recovered by Jason Pierre-Paul. A failed fourth-down conversion gave the ball back to the Rams. Operating from the Bucs 22-yard line, the Rams moved the ball down into field goal range. But Matt Gay came up short on a 47-yard attempt, giving the Bucs the ball back at their own 37-yard line.

With the season on the line, Brady’s fourth down pass sailed over Cam Brate’s head. The Rams took over at their own 31-yard line. A third down stop by the Bucs defense gave them the ball back with just under three mins left after Tampa Bay burned through all three of their timeouts. That was all the time Brady needed. It took three plays for Brady to find Evans for a 55-yard touchdown to bring the score to 27-20.

The Rams took over with just over three minutes remaining, trying to ice the game. On their second play of the drive, Ndamukong Suh stripped Cam Akers of the ball and Lavonte David came up with the fumble recovery. After the fumble, Brady and the offense started the ball at the 30-yard line. From there Brady marched the Bucs into the red zone. On a fourth-and-one with the game on the line, “Playoff Lenny” struck. Fournette ran in the game-tying touchdown from nine yards out.

It was all for naught though, as the Rams were able to move the ball down the field with just 42 seconds left. Cooper Kupp came up with two huge receptions to move Los Angeles into field goal position. Former Bucs kicker Matt Gay hit the chip shot to send the Rams to the NFC Championship game with a 30-27 victory.

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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of PewterReport.com’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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Pete Wood
Pete Wood
4 months ago

If refs call the game correctly, Bucs win. If Antonio Brown didn’t lose his s### in NY, Bucs win. If Wirfs not injured, Bucs win. A tough game to watch, but with so many injuries, Bucs did well to get this far. I’m proud of them.

warren
warren
Reply to  Pete Wood
4 months ago

Somebody tell me why Bowles blitzed the DB on the long pass play when all we had to do was stop the long pass play! That lost that for us.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  warren
4 months ago

Agreed, the vaunted defense gave the game away

kingtrojan
kingtrojan
Reply to  Eddie
4 months ago

Lol vaunted defense that has always been misleading teams have always been able to pass all day on us and as a result out low rush totals lowered our defensive rating and we saw this year when teams decided to run on us they could

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  kingtrojan
4 months ago

Your thinking is as jumbled as your syntax you moron. Rams tried to run us all day and failed.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  warren
4 months ago

interesting question. I thought the same thing, especially when you look at Stafford’s stats against the blitz. We were outcoached again by the Rams.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
4 months ago

What a heartbreaker. The injuries finally caught up with this team on offense. Tom and mike gutted it out and made an unbelievable game of it. Donavan smith had s rough day and not habing wirfs was just too much. Godwin has to be resigned as Tyler johnson is just not that guy. And please take Darden off kick returns. Hes also not the guy. Need to draft some youth on defense for the line and hope Tom wants to run it back one more time. And please someone tell me why the f$^# Bowels blitzed on that last play?… Read more »

Dman
Dman
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 months ago

Missing Godwin was huge. Couldn’t be more disappointed in T. Johnson.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Dman
4 months ago

Best thing that happened to the team was when Johnson got injured and Scotty came in and started taking his snaps. Johnson runs with cement shoes and has frying pans for hands.

HomerSimpsonRocks
HomerSimpsonRocks
4 months ago

Todd Bowles is a complete moron. Please someone hire him away.

kingtrojan
kingtrojan
Reply to  HomerSimpsonRocks
4 months ago

100% agree

twspin
twspin
Reply to  HomerSimpsonRocks
4 months ago

LMAO. Sure, Blame it on somebody..any GD body! Our Bucs were simply not healthy. Get over it.

seat26
seat26
4 months ago

Bucs got nothing to be ashamed of. It was a great season, and they were in this game right up until the end. I really thought with 45 seconds left we would go into overtime and well, Brady? who else would you want to try to win it in overtime? But Stafford? They pulled it out in the end, the only heartbreaker for me was seeing Gay win it for the Rams. I am still proud to be a Buccaneer Fan. Whatever the future holds, I just pray BA stays for another year, and we are able to keep most… Read more »

kingtrojan
kingtrojan
Reply to  seat26
4 months ago

We were only in it at the end because the Rams took their foot off the gas once up 27-3 we got garbage time points, it wasn’t like the game was some back and forth contest.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  kingtrojan
4 months ago

You don’t get garbage points when you are only 14 points ahead in the 4th quarter. What an idiot.

FilmBuc
FilmBuc
Reply to  kingtrojan
4 months ago


Your comment is ignorant and moronic. If you don’t think the Rams knew Brady had won a Super Bowl down 28-3 then I feel sorry for your critical thinking skills. That wasn’t garbage time, that was a team making mistake after mistake after mistake and Brady and the Bucs taking advantage in one of the best comebacks in team history. but they blew it on the final drive because they got greedy with the blitz and played to Stafford’s strength – which is beating the blitz. Just stop talking with your ignorance.

kingtrojan
kingtrojan
4 months ago

Failure of a season due to how we played today if the game had been back and forth hard fought game but we ended up coming up short ok. But instead we came into today totally unprepared and got uncoached. The score is misleading we were able to climb back and make it a game in garbage time because the Rams took the foot off the peddle once they got up 27-3 similar to last season vs KC. This game exposed how overrated both Bowles and Leftwich truly are and how and how flawed the roster truly was, instead of… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by kingtrojan
FilmBuc
FilmBuc
Reply to  kingtrojan
4 months ago


You keep doubling down on the stupidest take I’ve seen. Brady is the king of the comebacks and the Rams knew it and couldn’t do anything about it. Brady won a Super Bowl down 28-3 and almost won this game down 27-3. The Rams got nervous and made mistakes. Period. If Bowles doesn’t blitz- we win that game. Go away with your dumb takes.

Horse
Horse
4 months ago

I am proud of our Bucs! Despite our All Pro Right OffensiveTackle out and our back up was injured, we hung in there and almost won the game. I too had hoped we could win, but the Rams today played a very good game and I congratulate them. I think we have to find a way to beat the Rams and Saints as they were 4 of our 5 losses this season.. Go Bucs!

Dman
Dman
4 months ago

Team has never had a complete line-up of our starters the whole season. The guys never gave up and played their hearts out. Nothing to be ashamed of and almost pulled it out.
Long SB season makes it tough to repeat. Chiefs had a slow start as well but are younger and seemed to recover. Let’s see how the dust settles, bring in some more talent and youth and make another run next year.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Dman
4 months ago

So agree.

PewterHeart
PewterHeart
4 months ago

Fought back,I’m proud.TB12 hopefully returns.have to get another young QB, don’t trust in Trask. Let Leftwich go.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  PewterHeart
4 months ago

I would start up a Go Fund Me page to get rid of Leftwich so he can play golf all day. What kind of game plan was that. We were only down one OL but it looked like the whole OL was playing with sprained ankles.

Srinath
Srinath
Reply to  drdneast
4 months ago

Horrendous playcalling. Malpractice. No chipping by TEs early and leaving Smith and Wells on an island with Donald and Miller lol. Not a single trick play and one dimensional run game. If TB12 was not there, this offense would be useless. O line looks elite primarily because of TBs release time though. Its good but in true pass protection reps, not as good as people claim. Only Wirfs and Marpet are elite, Jensen good. Entire offense: Inside duo runs, screens to TEs, throws on second down which require 3s and then get to 3rd and long and get sacked.

pinkstob
pinkstob
4 months ago

The title is correct, that was a heartbreaker. Now that I’ve had a chance to drive home and process the emotional part of this game I look at the season as a whole and I am at peace realizing we had a really, really good season. We once again had a dominant offense and our QB broke all kinds of records. We beat really good teams in close, fun games like the Cowboys, Bills and Colts. Before the season started Horse asked me how I saw the Bucs going this season and I said “Frankly? Injured. But as long as… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  pinkstob
4 months ago

Pinkstob, you said it all. It was a good season despite all the injuries; I don’t remember us ever going this far with all these injuries before?. This team now believes they are winners, not losers. The Draft will help to keep us competitive for awhile. No question Arian’s and Brady has made us proud to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fan and looking forward to the next Season.

Theydidwhat
Theydidwhat
Reply to  Horse
4 months ago

Depends how they draft…. 2020 drafted 2 impactful starters. 2021 drafted special teams and redshirt depth?

scubog
scubog
Reply to  pinkstob
4 months ago

Always a great perspective from you my friend. After spending the past, mostly agonizing, 45 years following this team, I’m sure not going to be overly critical of the team and coaches for allowing me to enjoy a NFC South Division championship and a home playoff victory. Our team lost to a team that may well represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. There’s no shame in that. There are 27 other teams who would loved to have achieved that goal. Too many of these folks expect absolute perfection or “everything sucks”. Hope to see you at Training Camp.

Knightrider79
Knightrider79
4 months ago

I have zero faith in our coaching staff. They don’t scheme our players open on offense and they can’t stop a cold on defense. If BA were to retire I wouldn’t cry at all. I think a change is needed and needed bad. Routinely our team is out coached against better teams. That has to stop.

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Knightrider79
4 months ago

You surely haven’t been a fan for very long to know what suffering is about.

FilmBuc
FilmBuc
Reply to  Knightrider79
4 months ago

Literally the #2 scoring team in the NFL and averaged almost 30 points in 2 playoff games. You have no clue what you are saying. Ignorance is dripping from your posts

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Knightrider79
4 months ago

Get a grip on reality Knightrider. You might want to “check the sheet” before making unsubstantiated declarations.

MWD
MWD
4 months ago

For the Bucs to have won this game they had to start fast and we reverted to playing one half of football aided by the Rams practically allowing us to stay in the game probably covering a point spread in Vegas- why we blitzed like that has me wondering if Bowles is just an idiot but like many have stated- no Wirfs- and 80 percent of our passing game gone with Godwin injured and AB kicked off the team and the Rams stacking themselves in the meantime with the addition of Von Miller and OBJ- we had to play an… Read more »

Emilio
Emilio
4 months ago

The game came down to the fact that the Rams got the ball with 42 seconds left, and went 65 yards in 2 plays. At least we didn’t have to watch another 11.5 min drive like in Washington. Totally undisciplined play, amateurish coaching. “Special” teams ?! I’m hoping Arians retires, Leftwich & Bowles get other jobs before they waste another year of the GOAT.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Emilio
4 months ago

Bowles isn’t the problem although that last play call was. When we lost JPP we should have gone after Von Miller like the Rams did. Who cares about a second and a third round pick if you can get a SB out of . Bethem. Besides, Licht will probably blow the picks anyway. BTW, have you seen Shaq Barrett on a milk carton.

bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

Needed Wirfs the most! Believe he would have made a difference in helping with Donald! Smith had a really rough day! Pressure from his side all game long! Godwin and AB loss was just too much ch, with the injuries, to overcome. But Wirfs injury turned out to be huge! Not Brady’s best effort today either, with the ferocious pass rush and all! He did seem a little off on his passes most of the day. Drops, again, didn’t help! The defense just couldn’t get off the field, again! Defense seemed confused on assignments today, not sure why? In the… Read more »

twspin
twspin
4 months ago

Please Buc fans..Cut it out and knock it off. We deserved to lose. Thats right Me, A Buc fan said it and will not take it back. Anytime you let a team take a 5 plus hr plane ride across country, And come into your house and win? Thats an A,, Whippin ! We know why we lost. We could not stop A Rams offense or tackle in the 1st half. You cannot beat good teams from behind. All of this coulda, shoulda, woulda is for the birds! We lost. Get over it. Congrats to the Rams. They have a… Read more »

Dman
Dman
Reply to  twspin
4 months ago

Agree with everything except the Tequila – doing bourbon myself.

fredster
fredster
4 months ago

The Whole team sucked but we had injuries on offense. What was Bowles and defenses excuse? That was pathetic. They can’t cover anyone. Can’t pressure. They sell out to stop run. They are best against run because everyone knows you don’t have to run against them to win they can’t stop anything passing. Letting Kupp get open on last drive was asinine. Any dip shit can stack line and stop a run and get roasted passing. Bowles is garbage to me. Bucs need better CB’s too. Tired watching this garbage secondary get roasted or be hurt. Worthless. Bowles as head… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by fredster
SenileSenior
SenileSenior
4 months ago

We have a great head coach in Bruce Arians. We have great coaches in Todd Bowles, Byron Leftwich and the rest of their staffs. We have a great GM in Licht who also has a great staff. We have champion players from one end of the the roster to the other. We have a quality franchise of winners now.
Go cry in your beer if your must! Then get up tomorrow for a new day.
_______________
Go Bucs!!!

fredster
fredster
Reply to  SenileSenior
4 months ago

You are frigging senile. Good monicker. Yeah Bowles did bang up job. Lol. My god this is stupidest post seen in while. I pray they replace Todd Blows and Suckwhich. Arians seems out of it to me too this year. Time for new coaching.how you can watch that game and say Bucs were well coached in any phase is insane to me. Special teams, defense, offense all shit.

Last edited 4 months ago by fredster
bucballer
bucballer
4 months ago

The best addition this off season could be the replacements for Lefty and Bowles as they get jobs elsewhere! Addition by subtraction. Great season guys! Resign Godwin!

FilmBuc
FilmBuc
Reply to  bucballer
4 months ago

another sad sack idiotic comment

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  FilmBuc
4 months ago

Yeah bro, because no other coordinators could come in and perhaps do better than Bowles and Lefty! Just watch and see for yourself. If Lefty gets a Head Coach job and Bowles leaves as well then their replacements just might have a chance to be even better. There is a reason why u keep hearing from fans that we seemed to have gotten out coached again. It’s the Defensive Coordinator who is the worst of the two. But, BL needs more experience in order for him to stop calling such an unimaginative offense that lacks consistency and and reason in… Read more »

MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
4 months ago

Antoine Winfield JR will be forever known as the guy who ended the Buccaneers superbowl hopes. He will also be known as the guy that sunk the Buccaneers back in to a 5-6 win team.

Theydidwhat
Theydidwhat
Reply to  MichaelMyersIsABucsFan
4 months ago

They should have rushed 3. Bad coaching!

Dave
Dave
4 months ago

I can accept a loss. I felt pretty strongly we were gonna lose. Albeit a close game. But losing the way we did, is a tough pill to swallow. And by that, I mean the horrendous defensive gameplan/performance. If we lost because OBJ, Van Jefferson, Higbee, or Akers went nuts. So be it. But to allow Kupp to be the one that destroyed us, over and over and over again, is just disgusting. You had one guy to stop, and you couldn’t do it. That’s the part that’s hard to get over

BigSombrero
BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

Akers sucks. A fumbling machine. Thank goodness the Bucs didn’t draft his gimpy butt.

bucscriv
bucscriv
4 months ago

Lack of discipline and self control caused the Bucs to lose. Same thing happened to Cowboys.

Theydidwhat
Theydidwhat
4 months ago

Bad play calling, execution and tackle depth and still they had a chance with a limited offense and a confused defense. Great season with all the injuries. Rams added two key pieces in OBJ and Miller the Bucs could have used at those positions. You can always get better. They need some upgrades for 2022.

Emilio
Emilio
4 months ago

Bowles is terrible. We need better HC, both coordinators and special teams coaches.

Emilio
Emilio
4 months ago

When Brady retires, this team will be a perennial doormat. Again.

bucballer
bucballer
Reply to  Emilio
4 months ago

Surely not a doormat Emilio! I can see ur a big Buc’s fan! It looks like ur a band wagon fan, perhaps, a Brady fan?! But, u sure aren’t a Buc’s fan! Why can’t the glass be half full?

scubog
scubog
4 months ago

Good grief!. Some of you people must not have sat through the countless seasons and games in which the Bucs (Yucs) were always at or near the bottom of the league. Any mention of the Bucs nationally was always preceded by the fitting adjective, “lowly”. I assure you folks, any team that goes 13 dash 4, wins the division, wins a playoff game and loses to the likely NFC Super Bowl representative that went all-in giving up years of draft picks for this shot, doesn’t “suck”. Nor does the coaching staff, whose team achieved these results in spite of injuries… Read more »

plopes808
plopes808
4 months ago

Although it hurts, this game actually showed more good than bad. Previous teams would never have had a chance after the slow start they had. It was a borderline miracle the game came down to one play (albeit a bad defensive play call) between injuries and some horrific officiating, but I loved the fight the guys showed. I’m sure we’re all hoping for at least 1 more year of TB12, and I wouldn’t expect him to leave after the season and game he just had. If he does retire though, he left us with some great memories and left the… Read more »