The St. Louis Rams came out and earned their second consecutive victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move to 7-8. Before the game we gave the keys to a St. Louis Rams victory. Here’s how they turned out.
Don’t Get Beat Deep
Last week the Rams did a great job of protecting the deep ball against the Saints as quarterback Drew Brees’ longest completion was 30 yards. Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon loves to throw the deep ball, and they will take their shots.
To beat the Buccaneers the Rams are going to have to make the Glennon and the Buccaneers offense work its way down the field and keep a close eye on wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood.
The longest passing play given up by the Rams secondary was a 30 yard completion to Vincent Jackson and a questionable 27 yard pass interference penalty other than that though the Rams kept the Buccaneers’ top receiver mostly in check.
Jackson did end up with 98 yards receiving, but he didn’t burn the St. Louis Rams secondary which is what the Rams needed to avoid and they did.
Protect The Football
In the Rams eight wins this season the Rams are +17 in the turnover margin, in their eight losses they are -7. The Buccaneers are second in the league in takeaways with 29, right behind the Seattle Seahawks.
The Buccaneers also only have 18 turnovers all season which is about right in the middle of the pack. To win this game, the Rams cannot turn the ball over and give the Buccaneers offense any extra possessions.
This was one area the Rams struggled. Both Kellen Clemens and Zac Stacy had fumbles in the second quarter. Thankfully neither of them put the game in jeopardy for the Rams as the Rams defense only allowed three points off of those turnovers.
The Rams did get two turnovers of their own, both of which were forced by Alec Ogletree. The Rams ended up with 10 points off of turnovers whereas the Bucs only got three.
Set The Tone With The Run Game
Zac Stacy has really been the difference maker for the Rams on offense this season. After coming in week five, Stacy is still within reach of 1,000 yards. In the games that Stacy has struggled, the Rams offense has struggled e.g. the Cardinals and 49ers.
The Rams are going to have to set the tone on offense with the run game, and thankfully for them against the other three NFC West teams, the Buccaneers allowed 147 rushing yards on 4.64 yards per carry to the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers.
Setting the tone on offense with the run is going to be important, but so will stopping the run on defense. The Buccaneers lost running back Doug Martin earlier in the season and Bobby Rainey has come in and done a respectable job replacing him.
The Buccaneers are ranked last in passing offense and are only ranked 22nd in rushing offense. If the Rams can control the run game, they could have a dominant defensive performance.
The Rams dominated this area of the field. Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards on 33 carries and a touchdown while the Buccaneers only rushed for 59 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown.
The Rams were able to set up a lot offensively including the double reverse and some play action. The Buccaneers on the other hand were not able to get much of a rhythm on offense and it was all because the Rams stopped the run.
One of the biggest keys to this game is the quarterback play. The Rams are going to have to protect Kellen Clemens as to not force him into making any bad decisions or bad throws, and the Rams are going to have to make the young quarterback on the other side of the ball feel as uncomfortable as possible to make him force a bad throw or two.
Defensive end and defensive player of the year candidate Robert Quinn will most likely be up against left tackle Donald Penn. Penn has given up the fourth most sacks at his position this season.
However, the Buccaneers front four can do some damage as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the rest of the Bucs front four can do some damage. The Rams offensive line is going to have to be on top of their game.
This could be a pretty close matchup, but if the Rams can win these battle and follow these keys to victory, they will give themselves a pretty good chance of coming out with a win this Sunday.
For the second straight week Clemens only threw the ball 20 times which is absolutely perfect. The game was not put in the hands of Kellen Clemens, but he made the throws when they were needed. The Buccaneers also only sacked Clemens once which is outstanding considering the Rams lost their big name left tackle Jake Long.
Glennon had a much more difficult day. The Rams made Glennon feel uncomfortable which forced him to be inaccurate at times and forced him to throw the ball away. Glennon was also sacked seven times, three by Robert Quinn. That’s a tough day for any quarterback.
Of our four keys to victory the Rams came out on top in three of them and made up for the one that they did not by creating turnovers of their own and taking advantage of them. These proved to be the differences in the game and the Rams came out with the win.
The Rams now move to 7-8 and will have a chance to go .500 next week and beat last year’s win total in Seattle against the Seahawks who will be looking to wrap up the number one seed.