The 2021 version of the LA Rams is no longer an enigma. The LA Rams answered the question “Just how good is this team?” with a statement victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The win ended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-game winning streak while continuing the LA Rams winning streak to three games.
It was a complete team victory, with each part of the team adding a little bit of something to secure the win.
If an NFL season was a sprint, this would mean just about everything. But the now 17-game season is a marathon, or perhaps even more aptly described as a Triathalon. This is just the first third of a three-part endurance race whose goal is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
At about Week 10, the intensity goes up, and it becomes the spring to the playoffs. That phase of the season is already given its own descriptive name – a playoff run. That is the part of the season that springs new life into NFL teams. Getting hot at the right time puts other teams on the defensive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their last four games of the NFL season in 2020. They got hot at the right time.
And then you have the NFL Playoffs. That three or four-game sprint where winning is everything. Win and you advance. Lose? You go home to start all over again. That’s a painful way to end an oh-so-close season.
That’s why the LA Rams traded for QB Matthew Stafford. The Rams wanted to improve their odds significantly, to win here and now, to not experience that life-draining experience of loss, bewilderment, and self-reflection that comes with every loss that ends an NFL season.
Of course, the pragmatic value of winning the Week 3 contest is that the Rams are now one win closer to the NFL Playoffs, winning the NFC West Division Championship, a top-seeded berth in the NFC Playoffs, and ultimately, Super Bowl LVI. But in the same breath, it’s just one game. One of 17 games that the Rams must play in order to get to the playoffs.
So in keeping with the NFL playoff format, we have three rounds of winners and losers from the LA Rams Week 3 win.