The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their 10-game winning streak snapped by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and there were plenty of contributing factors. One happens not to show up in the box score, though, and it must be addressed immediately if the Bucs want to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. The Bucs need to regain their toughness from last postseason.
The Rams roughed up the Bucs, pure and simple, for the entire 60 minutes. It was a wake up call, yet it was only one loss. Every team does lose in this league.
Quite simply, the trajectory of Tampa Bay’s season depends on whether they allow other teams to replicate what the Rams did, or make sure it doesn’t happen again. Everyone has an eye on the NFL Kings and are always trying to find anything that can bring them down.
The Bucs were taking hard shots on the field all day from the Rams. Some were just solid football plays, others questionably right in front of the officials. Ironically, those questionable ones that didn’t get flagged are the same ones that Ryan Jensen is so often called for.
It couldn’t have given Buccaneers fans much confidence to see so many players in pewter uniforms lying on the So-Fi Stadium turf and then helped off the field due to hits from the opposition. The Rams also seemed to taunt at will, especially wide receiver and former Buccaneer DeSean Jackson, with no repercussions whatsoever.
Maybe this was just Los Angeles taking fortuitous advantage of the league’s sudden hesitancy to enforce its own rules. It doesn’t matter, though. You can’t let a team think they can get an edge by winning the toughness battle because that gives inferior squads confidence and leads to much more competitive contests than there should be.
The good thing for Tampa Bay is that there are 14 more games to play and time to get these ideas out of the heads of their opponents going forward. The one positive is that they are familiar with being bullied by a rival who thinks they have the Bucs’ number.
The Los Angeles Rams, by result, just became the 2021 version of the 2020 New Orleans Saints for Tampa Bay. Things didn’t end so well for that crew when they faced a fortified Bucs team in the playoffs. The Bucs need to revert to that playoff mindset starting now if they want to return the favor to the Rams this postseason.
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