The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed the Los Angeles Rams to Raymond James Stadium on Sunday afternoon with a chance to go to the NFC Championship Game on the line. However, the first half the divisional round playoff game went far from according to plan for the defending Super Bowl champs.
An unsteady start from Tom Brady along with multiple lapses in the secondary and shoddy special teams saw the Bucs
Rams are taking it to the Bucs early 👀 pic.twitter.com/om4qpmeulV
— ESPN (@espn) January 23, 2022
">quickly dig themselves into a 20-3 hole on Sunday. Although there's plenty of game left, Tampa Bay will need to play much better if it hopes to have a chance to come out on top.
Brady wasn't flawless in the early going, but it was the Buccaneers defense that really left something to be desired in the first half. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford carved up the Tampa Bay secondary throughout the first two quarters on his way to over 200 yards and two touchdowns.
The worst moment for the Buccaneers in the first half came immediately after a huge second-down sack on Stafford. The next play, the Rams quarterback threw a strike to a wide-open Copper Kupp on 3rd-and-20 for a 70-yard touchdown catch. The score put Los Angeles up 17-3 at the time.
Coming into the game, many fans and media members knew that injuries, combined with the matchup, would making winning a difficult task for the Buccaneers. However, the NFL world was largely shocked to see the team turn in such a horrid first half performance.
The Buccaneers finally seemed to gather some momentum on a drive in the second quarter, but Brady was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, which caused the drive to stall-out just across midfield. Tampa missed a field goal shortly after the penalty.
The Rams followed up the defensive stop with a field goal, extending their lead to 20-3.
It's difficult to see the defending Super Bowl champs completely roll over in the divisional round of the playoffs, but if the Buccaneers don't change something soon, they'll be on their way out of the postseason on Sunday.