When this matchup happened two years ago, it was absolutely a sight to see if you love high-scoring games. The Bucs were able to walk away from that game with a 55-40 victory, but things sure have changed since then.
Identical offenses remain, but the differences lay under center.
When the first matchup happened in 2019, the Bucs seemed to be coming into fruition under a new playbook, new system, new feel. Godwin exploded on the day with 12 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns with Mike Evans and Cameron Brate finding the endzone through the air as well, as then quarterback Jameis Winston was able to throw for 385 yards and four touchdowns and one of his record-setting interceptions. Ronald Jones II also had a big day on the ground rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown in his return to The Coliseum.
Things weren’t all Tampa Bay, as Jared Goff did manage to pick apart the Bucs defense that was still adjusting to their new scheme. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods cooked the Bucs secondary; both, going for over 100-yards receiving (Kupp: 9-121-1, Woods: 13-164-0). Todd Gurley had a rough day at the office against what is still considered the top rush defense in the league, managing just 16 yards on 5 carries, but did manage to find the endzone twice. Malcolm Brown was also held to 14 yards on 5 carries. But in the end, it was Goff’s 3 interceptions and a lost fumble to Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh for a scoop-and-score play that sealed the Bucs victory in what was being advertised as Suh’s return to L.A.
What is evidently different this time around is both team’s rosters: A different quarterback than they had in 2019. Matthew Stafford, in his twelfth season, will be under center for the Rams offense in what still stars Kupp and Woods but has also added Sony Michel and veteran De’Shawn Jackson to the mix.
For the Bucs, enter Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Bryant, Leonard Fournette, reigning Super Bowl Champs, and addition to Giovanni Bernard to go along with an established Evans, Godwin, Brate, Howard, and Jones II group, and this game could easily be the highest-scoring game in NFL history. And just for good luck, remember every time Stafford and Brady have squared off during the season, Tom Brady wins a Super Bowl.
Both defenses will have their hands full on Sunday.
Since that day, the Rams have parted ways with Marcus Peters and replaced him with Jalen Ramsey, with Dante Fowler and Aaron Donald being a massive disruption for opposing offenses. The Bucs offensive line is going to have their hands full on Sunday, but don’t expect much to get by the big guys up front as they’ll be facing the G.O.A.T. for the first time since he beat them 13-3 in Super Bowl LII, while with the Patriots.
“We’re going against a great defense that’s playing about as good as any defense in the league the last year, year and a half”
Don’t underestimate the reigning, defending Super Bowl Champion defense. They have wised up a bunch since 2019. Since the departure of Vernon Hargreaves III, the Bucs secondary has come together nicely, being led by Carlton Davis III. The Bucs have also since added Antoine Winfield Jr., who is in his second season looks to continue to add to his resume. The last time these teams squared off, the Bucs handed out 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, and the earlier mentioned scoop-and-score by Ndamukong Suh. The last time this defense faced Stafford, they went on to win the Super Bowl.
How do you feel things will fare for Stafford and the Rams when the Champs arrive in SoFi? Could the Bucs return to SoFi in February for the Super Bowl?