You know how you get to the doctor’s office ten minutes before your appointment, and the receptionist tells you they’re running about fifteen minutes behind schedule and you end up waiting an hour before the doctor tells you he’ll have to reschedule you for next week, but don’t put this off too long otherwise that grapefruit-sized chunk of prostate cancer will drop out of your ass onto your carpet or something?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite that bad at Raymond James Stadium last night. I mean, unless you’re the Bucs.
Rams 37 – Bucs 32
Yep. Things got a little weird down in Tampa-town yesterday, as the Buccaneers hosted the newly rechristened Los Angeles Rams into the pirate port. Now look: the last time I cared about any team called the L.A. Rams, Joe Pendleton was their quarterback (I’ll sit quietly while you Google the reference), but this was also Tampa’s home opener after splitting two road games to get the 2016 season started.
The Bucs seemed to be at least somewhat in control early, going into the hole down by 7 points after the Rams opening drive. The teams ended up going back and forth for the rest of the half, with the Bucs nursing a 20-17 lead going into halftime. That included a first-quarter interception of Rams QB Case Keenum returned for a touchdown. That was to be Keenum’s only real costly misstep of the day, however.
Meanwhile, Tampa QB Jameis Winston also threw a pick, but that was mitigated by three TD throws and 400+ passing yards, going 36 out of an insane 58 attempts. Granted, the Bucs running game was hampered somewhat by the absence of Doug Martin, who went out last week with an injury. Charles Sims kicked in another 50 or so yards on the ground, but that’s not really enough to take the pressure off Winston when it comes to moving the football. To his credit, Sims stepped up and played solid ball, adding another 70 passing yards to his production stats for the day. Speaking of receiving, Mike Evans and Adam Humphries were the big yardage guys, but it was Cameron Brate who hauled in two of Winston’s two TD passes, with Evans notching the third.
A costly Bucs fumble late in the third quarter was returned by the Rams for a touchdown, coming right after a Los Angeles scoring drive that ended up with Tampa staring at the wrong end of an 11-point deficit. Three scoring drives (two by the Bucs, one by the Rams) saw that lead shrink, grow, and shrink yet again with the clock ticking toward oblivion. Attempts at two-point conversions on all three drives were thwarted (something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a single game), with the Rams unable to put the game out of reach and giving the Bucs one more chance as time wound down to the two-minute warning.
Then, the weather gods kicked the football gods right in the taint.
With lightning in the area deemed a danger for those at the stadium, the game was suspended for more than an hour. I think if they’d been able to keep playing, the Bucs would’ve pulled this out. As it happened, the delay ended up benefitting the Rams, who managed to hold on to their win and get out before the weather gods and football gods changed their minds again.
The loss drops Tampa to 1-2, and perhaps to second place in the NFC South Division, pending the outcome of tonight’s game between Atlanta and New Orleans. Elsewhere, the Carolina Panthers also fall to 1-2 after losing to Minnesota.
Next up? The Bucs host another home game, this time against the Denver Broncos, who are 3-0 and on fire right now. Listen up, all y’all: This one might hurt. Then again, they could be ripe for an upset. Yeah, let’s go with that.
It’s a Bucs Life, amirite?