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Bucs Fall to Rams 27-24 as Offense Sputters in Second Half

Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers scores on a 13-yard pass during the fourth quarter Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams

Leading at halftime, Sean McVay's Los Angeles Rams team was 31-0. After Monday night's game in Tampa, it's now 32-0.

The Rams defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 on a 40-yard field goal by Buccaneers castoff Matt Gay with 2:40 left in the game. Los Angeles sealed the game on Brady's second interception of the game - both by Rams' safety Jordan Fuller - with 1:49 left.

Tampa Bay's offense was a tale of two halves, having the ability to drive and pick up first downs consistently in the first half, but stumbling their way through the better part of the second half. While the first half went back and forth in terms of scoring and the teams primed for a shootout, the game stalled in the third quarter, and picked up late in the fourth.

Neither team's running game was effective, so it came down to a battle of the passing games. The Rams exploited many holes in the Buccaneers' secondary, with several successful intermediate completions that either extended drives or allowed for second-and-short situations. The Bucs, on the other hand, attempted many simple quick wide-receiver hits off the line that didn't result in much. The Bucs running backs could not catch balls either, with four drops, three by Leonard Fournette. And Tom Brady's deep balls resulted in incompletions, overthrows or pass interference calls.

After the Bucs punted on their first drive, the Rams matriculated down the field on a 13-play 80-yard drive for the game's first score, a four-yard reception by Robert Woods. The key play was a 37-yard pass from Jared Goff to Cooper Kupp on third and 4 that brought the ball to the Bucs' 12.

Two pass interference calls on the Rams helped Tampa Bay on its next two drives. Following the Rams score, Jalen Ramsey was called for a 20-yard interference penalty on Mike Evans on a 3rd-and-10. Following a 16-yard completion from Brady to Rob Gronkowski, Brady found Mike Evans on a 3rd-and-1 from the Rams' 9. After the short catch, Evans fought through Rams defensivce backs Troy Hill and Darius Williams while spinning, twisting and turning into the end zone to tie the game at 7.

Jason Pierre-Paul celebrates with his teammates after his third-quarter interception of Jared Goff Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams

On Tampa Bay's next possession, Cam Brate came through with two huge third-down catches early in the drive, then a big 25-yard interference call on Jordan Fuller, who was covering Scotty Miller on the play. Leonard Fournette ended the possession with a two-yard touchdown run that gave the Bucs a 14-7 lead.

Los Angeles tied the game on their next possession, a seven-yard touchdown reception by former Florida Gator Van Jefferson, his first-ever NFL touchdown.

The Rams added three at the end of the half after a 35-yard receiver screen to Robert Woods. The Rams hustled down the field to spike the ball with one second remaining in the half, and former Buc Gay drilled a 38-yard field goal to give the Rams a 17-14 halftime lead.

The Bucs got those three back quickly to start the second half, after a Jason Pierre-Paul interception of a Goff screen pass deep in Rams territory. Ryan Succop kicked a 38-yard field goal after the Bucs went three-and-out.

Gay missed a 44-yarder after the Rams subsequent drive stalled on their next possession.

Brady and the Bucs then had their first turnover of the night, as Fuller picked off a badly thrown ball down the middle of the field as Brady might have had his vision impeded by a Rams defender. The Rams took advantage of the miscue, quickly driving down the field, and scoring on a four-yard pass from Goff to Cam Akers, his first NFL touchdown.

Tampa Bay didn't fare well offensively in the third quarter, running 11 plays for a total of eight yards. Three of their four possessions went three-and-out, the other ending after only two plays on the Fuller intercerption.

The Bucs tried to spark the offense, going for it on 4th and 1 from the Rams' 43 with 8:16 left and could not convert, but the Rams turned the ball over three plays later on a Jordan Whitehead interception of Goff in Rams territory.

Then the Bucs finally started picking up first downs, driving deeper into Rams territory, and finally tied the game at 24 on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin, who dove the final three years while his body was going out of bounds.

Up next for the Bucs is another tough game, this one against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at 4:25 Sunday at RayJay.

Photos Courtesy: Getty Images

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