The Rams came into week 2 with multiple injuries to their young team over the past week, and with third-stringer Austin Davis taking the reigns at QB, many were unsure whether they could pull off the victory against a Buccaneers team looking for redemption after a struggling loss to the Panthers.
In Davis’s first career start, he went 22/29 for 235 yards the Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-17 in Tampa Bay for their first win of the season.
It wasn’t a pretty game, and the lead changed multiple times throughout the game. But despite the praise earned by Shaun Hill, who was active but did not play, St. Louis on offense looked a lot more fluent and constructed this week as opposed to last week’s disappointing 34-6 loss.
The defense, however, had its fair share of early struggles.
Veteran QB Josh McCown marched his new team down the field, and with Doug Martin out, Bobby Rainey took over the role at running back for the game. On the first drive, McCown ran for a five-yard touchdown to cap off a 10-play, 77 yard march down the field.
But the Rams responded.
Running back Zac Stacy, would help the offense run down the field, and tie it up with a two-yard run.
The second-quarter was more of a defensive battle between the two teams, with the Rams’ depth at defensive line being used to their advantage. The tie remained until Greg Zuerlein kicked a 36-yarder with 39 seconds left in the half, to make it 10-7 Rams.
During the first half, the game was delayed for nearly an hour (51 minutes to be exact) due to lightning, as rain and storms had been in the area since the game began. Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks was honored by the Buccaneers during halftime as well. DT Gerald McCoy also got hurt early on during the game, and unlike the Rams, Tampa Bay has little depth on the defensive line.
McCown was able to regain the lead against the Rams with 9:18 left to go in the third quarter, followed by two field goals by Zuerlein to put the Rams ahead 16-14 in the fourth quarter. Patrick Murray was able to kick a field goal of his own, to give the Bucs a one point lead as the fourth quarter winded down.
Davis then led the Rams down the field, and once again, Zuerlein made the go-ahead field goal, which ended up being the game winner.
With 38 seconds left, Tampa Bay attempted to mount a comeback. Down just two points, McCown started to drive the team down the field. However, with no timeouts left, rookie wide receiver Mike Evans hurt his hand after a completion. Due to rules, the clock not only didn’t stop because the Buccaneers had no timeouts left, a 1o-second runoff occurred…with eight second left, ending the game.
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win, putting St. Louis into week 3 against Dallas with a 1-1 record, while Tampa Bay falls to 0-2.
Fisher has stated that if Hill returns, he will be the starter. With the Rams also working out Thad Lewis and Case Keenum already on the roster, it remains to be seen where the QB situation stands at the moment.
Either way, the Rams pulled off a win and looked much better overall. Penalties for them were also down, although big ones early on hurt them as they helped the Buccaneers drive down the field. St. Louis only had five penalties for 65 yards, and while that’s not excellent, it’s a major improvement over week 1.
Davis has been on the Rams, then cut, signed to the Dolphins, cut, then signed to the Rams again. It’s been tumultuous for the young QB, but he finally got his shot to start, and he did not disappoint.
It’s still early, but by the looks of it, the NFC West is a lot closer of a division than people may think.
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)