The Rams’ victory in Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football showed the nation how far they have come in what constituted as a transition season and now looks like a playoff season.
The Rams’ home game against San Francisco at SoFi Stadium on Sunday will remind itself how far they’ve come in the past month.
It’s a rematch of the October match in which the defeated Niners put the visiting Rams to sleep and won 24-16.
That loss sparked “reflection” by Rams players, quarterback Jared Goff said after the victory over the Buccaneers.
‘I remember the leadership group talking about it a little bit and saying,’ We need to come up with more juice. “We came out a little flat in that game,” said Goff.
“At this point we’ve gotten a little more juice every game since then and produced our own energy.”
The juice wasn’t all sweet since then in the Rams’ 3-1 rendition. Their loss in Miami was even sloppier than that in Santa Clara. But a win over Chicago (then 5-1) and back-to-back wins over Seattle (then 6-2) and Tampa Bay (then 7-3) make them feel a lot better about themselves in the rematch with San Francisco. (4-6).
Safety John Johnson called the 27-24 victory over the Buccaneers “huge” for the Rams playoffs.
“We just try to string these games together, to peak at the right time. At the end of November and December, you want to play your best ball, ”said Johnson. “Were founded. We are in a good place now. We are, what, 7-3. We determine our own destiny.”
At 7-3, the Rams take first place in the NFC West for the first time in 2020, thanks to a lead over Seattle in the first tiebreaker, which are the head-to-head results. They would be second in the NFC seedings if the playoffs started now.
On Monday, the defense held Bucs led by Tom Brady at 251 in total. After kicker Matt Gay made himself a hero in his first Rams game by playing them three with 2:36 play, the defense stopped Brady on safety Jordan Fuller’s second interception.
Fuller’s first NFL interceptions, running back Cam Akers’ first touchdown and wide receiver From Jefferson’s first touchdown made it a milestone night for three Rams rookies. Joe Noteboom, who started in the left tackle for the first time in place of the injured Andrew Whitworth, helped give Goff time to throw.
Typically, it was a night when Goff (39 for 51, 376 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) and wide receivers Robert Woods (12 receptions, 130 yards, one TD) and Cooper Kupp (11 for 145) outperformed Brady and his team of Pro Bowl recipients.
Woods noted that the Rams still struggled to turn yards into touchdowns, right through to the end when they came to a stop at the Bucs ’22 and settled for Gay’s 40-yard field goal. He said they had to fix that “if we want to be that number 1 team, seriously.”
“I feel like we can send teams out, seal the game when we have those chances to seal a game,” Woods said.
The game built confidence for coach and player Sean McVay and the attack, who responded well to the same kind of pass rush that confused them in Miami and smoothly transitioned to a passing attack when the Bucs suppressed the run.
It was especially confidence inspiring for Goff, who performed just like Brady and led a game-winning drive.
“We can be as good as we want, frankly. We have it all in front of us, ”said Goff after the game. “We have to do it for a week at a time, keep playing well.
“I think our defense is still playing very well, and the better we can attack … I think we are very close to where we want to be.”
That is a long way from Santa Clara.
ENDS AND ODDS
The pick-up of Derek Rivers’ defensive end through New England last week by the Rams became official Monday. He can join the team on Saturday after passing COVID-19 tests. Rivers has been a backup since the Patriots called him up from Youngstown State in the third round in 2018. …
The Rams were preferred over the 49ers with 7 points in early bets. …
The Rams were 4-point underdogs in Tampa Bay. It’s their biggest overwhelming win since a 35-30 win over 5-point favorite Dallas in 2017, Sean McVay’s fourth game as coach. …
Bet on in the future OddsChecker VS., the Rams are preferred to win NFC West for the first time this season (115-100 odds), moved up from fifth to fourth pick to win the NFC title (6-1), and remain eighth pick to win the Super Bowl to be won (25-1). Websites that analyze these things give the Rams a more than 90% chance of making the playoffs. …
The game of the Rams against the New York Jets in week 15 will be played on Sunday afternoon, December 20. It’s one of the games the NFL was considering planning for that Saturday. …
The Rams did not practice and were not available for interviews after returning home from Tampa early Tuesday morning. …
McVay, on Monday night, to a reporter who asked about his Rams teams’ 32-0 record when he was leading halfway through: “You have to stop saying that. Don’t surprise us. Please don’t say it again. “…
Johnson made no excuse for muffling an easy interception of a Tom Brady depth pass, but security added, with a straight face, “It’s probably a good thing I didn’t catch him. I would have been on the (Rams’) 1 yard line. I played the field position game. “…
The Rams are now 4-0 when wearing their all-leg white uniforms. If that’s how you judge fashion.