Rams slam Tom Brady, Buccaneers in battle of NFL’s unbeatens


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Notice served.

The Los Angeles Rams delivered a strong message about their viability as a Super Bowl champion by manhandling the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-24 in a matchup of undefeated teams on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

New Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 343 yards and 4 TDs – including a 75-yard scoring heave to DeSean Jackson — demonstrating that the trigger man the franchise has bet the farm on can, yes, beat Tom Brady in a big game.

Yet this was no mere shootout. It was a complete victory as Stafford had plenty of help. The Rams defense pressured, pummeled and frustrated Brady and the Bucs offense, which is just as significant as the impact from Stafford. When the Bucs were still in striking range in the third quarter, the defense built around centerpiece defensive tackle Aaron Donald forced the visitors to settle for a field goal. When the Bucs were in desperation mode in the fourth, the Rams (3-0) squashed a drive with a fourth-down stop, though Los Angeles also allowed a garbage-time touchdown to Giovani Bernard.

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Tyler Higbee #89 of the Los Angeles Rams spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Inglewood, California.

Maybe it was some type of preview. If the Bucs (2-1) are to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champion since the Patriots in the 2004 season, it will have to happen here at the Rams’ sparkling home palace.

And if the Rams are going to go all the way, there’s a good chance they will have to see the Bucs again in the playoffs.

Then again, the Rams might be the last team to Bucs want to see again.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell.



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