Buccaneers were simply overmatched in loss to Rams

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2021 season ended in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, in a game they were overmatched talent-wise.

Simply put,  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams put on an instant classic, albeit one that may have been overshadowed by what was to come in the greatest divisional round weekend in NFL history. We almost had a repeat of Super Bowl LI, with Tom Brady down 27-3 this time instead of 28-3, and nearly bringing the boys all the way back. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

All things considered, Brady was masterful, mostly in the second half, with what he had to deal with. Despite looking like an actual 44-year-old man (because of his grey hairs popping out not because of his play) Brady and the Bucs somehow made it a game, being decided at the last second. This of course was the tradition in the divisional round this season.

Brady and the Bucs played valiantly, but in the end, the Buccaneers were simply overmatched by the sheer star-power the Rams possess. On a talent-for-talent basis, the Buccaneers are really the only team in the NFL that can match what the Rams bring to the table, but with how the banged-up the Bucs are, it was an uphill battle from the word go.

Chris Godwin being out for the game hurt, but Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski still played spectacular, as to be expected. However, while that hurt, Tristan Wirfs being out is what killed.

Von Miller and Aaron Donald were able to stop, drop, shut ’em down and open up shop in the backfield of the Bucs, wreaking havoc all afternoon. That’s not to put all of the blame on Josh Wells, who was in for Wirfs either. The entire offensive line was overwhelmed, especially Donovan Smth. Brady had little to no protection on the outside which cost the Buccaneers.

Elsewhere, while the Buccaneers had their entire projected defensive starting lineup for the first time all season, the secondary cost them. Despite being a solid unit, they have always been the “weak spot” in the defense, if one was forced to choose one. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and company were able to get theirs, especially when it mattered most when the secondary was unable to pick up the slack after Todd Bowles decided to bring the heat on the final offensive play of the game. To be fair, that’s a big ask for any secondary.

At the end of the day, the Bucs fought hard, as is the norm for Tom Brady-lead teams, but were simply dealing with too much to overcome against the Rams, and paid the price for it. Now, an offseason of uncertainty looms as the Buccaneers must now figure out their plan moving into the 2022 season and beyond.