Before the game, two key injuries were listed, both likely altering the course of the game. Buccaneers.com Senior Writer and Editor Scott Smith share the Buccaneer who didn't make the trip while fantasy football sage Matthew Berry notes the Rams offensive star sitting this one out.
Keith Tandy will start at strong safety in Mark Barron's place. Big opportunity for him; he does have 3 picks already this season. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 22, 2013
Tavon Austin is out. — Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) December 22, 2013
The Bucs began the game with the ball, but were forced into a fast three and out. The Buccaneers defense would treat the Rams to the same fate, forcing a punt after three plays. The Rams sustained another loss on the third-down play. TBO's Roy Cummings and ESPN's John Clayton fill us in:
Looks like Rams LT Jake Long may be done for the day. He was just carted off the field, though he stood up and got on the car on his own — Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) December 22, 2013
Rams say Jake Long's return is doubtful — John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) December 22, 2013
Mike Glennon led the Bucs offense onto the field for the second time of the day and got the offense ticking. Twitter lit up on the drive as multiple sources provided the play-by-play including two penalties, a key third-and-short conversion and big plays from Vincent Jackson:
Rams have already been called for two offsides penalties on third down. Can the Bucs convert this one? — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
Clear hit to defenseless receiver in STL — Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 22, 2013
Vincent Jackson with a big first down catch to the Rams' 33. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
Glennon finds a wide-open Vincent Jackson to the 3-yard line. Big gain, but it's not always good when Jackson catches it inside the 10. — Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 22, 2013
Two plays later, Bobby Rainey bounced to the outside and walked into the end zone, giving the first points of the game.
TD Bucs. Fire the Cannons. Bobby Rainey. — Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) December 22, 2013
Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson are off to a hot start. Glennon is 4-of-8 for 59 yards, while Jackson has two catches for 52 yards. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
@TBBuccaneers, the official Twitter account of the Bucs shares the first quarter stats.
To begin the second quarter, the Rams would answer back with a score of their own after putting together a long drive. Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman calls the TD play:
Zac Stacy leaps for a 1-yard touchdown and Rams tie things up with Bucs, early second quarter. 80-yard touchdown drive ... — Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 22, 2013
Taking over and looking to answer back, the Buccaneers converted a quick third down. On the ensuing play, Rainey took a handoff up the middle, fought for extra yards, but lost the football. Tom Krasniqi of WDAE updates:
With a very short field in front of them, it would take the Rams just one play to find the end zone and put themselves on top. Pewter Report reports:
Rams execute a perfect double reverse and score a TD to take a 14-7 lead. Rookie Steadman Bailey scores from 27 yards out. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
Rainey would take a run four yards up the middle, but the next two passes would fall short, leading to another Buccaneer punt. And the Rams began driving once again.
Clemens hits Bailey for a big strike on third-and-10 to move the chains. Bucs are missing Mark Barron big time today against the run pass. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
Zac Stacy again, sweeping inside Bucs' 5. Rams at the Tampa Bay 4 after 15-yard gain, already leading 14-7 ... — Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 22, 2013
On third down from the two-yard line, Rams' QB Kellen Clemens lined up in shotgun and took a designed run up the middle, the ball was knocked away and recovered for a huge goal line turnover by the Bucs. Again, here's Pewter Report and the Bucs' Scott Smith to give the stats:
Huge turnover on third-and-goal! Kellen Clemens fumbles on a QB scramble at the 5-yard line ad Keith Tandy recovers to save the TD. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
That appeared to be a designed run for QB Kellen Clemens on 3rd-and-goal, and it really backfired. Clemens fumbles, Bucs recover at the 4. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 22, 2013
After the turnover, the Bucs were deep in their own territory and couldn't get things moving. Third down ended in a sack, near-safety and challenge.
Not a safety in STL - forward progress is reviewable here. — Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) December 22, 2013
The Bucs would punt away, giving the Rams possession from the 48-yard line. Again we turn straight to Twitter for their reaction to the first play of the drive:
FUMBLE! Again! Bucs ball at midfield! — Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) December 22, 2013
Lavonte David with recovery. Foster forced fumble. — JoeBucsFan (@JoeBucsFan) December 22, 2013
Another Zac Stacy fumble, this one forced by D. Watson, recovered by L. David, gives Bucs ball back at their own 47. Bucs getting takeaways — Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) December 22, 2013
Like the first scoring drive, Vincent Jackson made some key moves as the Bucs drove down the field with time winding down. A 19-yard reception and 11-yard catch-and-run led us into the two-minute warning.
It's the V-Jax show. Bucs now in red zone after that catch and run. — Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) December 22, 2013
That catch was Vincent Jackson's 73rd of the year. That's a new career high for Jackson. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 22, 2013
The offense couldn't punch it in as Mike Glennon was sacked on back-to-back plays, but the Bucs did walk away with an end-of-half 35-yard field goal from Rian Lindell. At the half, the Rams led 14-10. @TBBuccaneers fills us in on the scores, stats and Pro Bowl considerations.
HALFTIME: STL 14, TB 10 Glennon: 10/16, 112 yards Jackson: 4 catches, 82 yards David: 5 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FR #TBvsSTL pic.twitter.com/YBvgYgQb0s — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) December 22, 2013
The Rams would punt away after their first possession of the second half. With the ball in Glennon's hands it wouldn't be long until the first suspenseful moment of the third quarter, as called by @STLouisRams, the official Twitter of the Rams:
That important fourth-down conversion led straight into a 25-yard swing as Vincent Jackson gets held, helping the Bucs march along.
Vincent Jackson draws a DPI. Good call by the officials. Bucs first down on Rams 14. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
Ultimately, the drive would end in three more points for Tampa Bay.
Lindell FG cuts Rams lead to one, 14-13, under 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. — WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) December 22, 2013
Michael Koenen would attempt an onside kick, but the Rams would come up with it at their own 35-yard line. Six plays later they found themselves at the Bucs' 36 and looking to add three of their own. 620 WDAE shares the score:
The Bucs would punt again. Kellen Clemens would convert his own fourth down play, keeping the drive going. Then a 15-yard personal foul on Dashon Goldson moved the Rams into a first-and-goal situation, sparking another important goal line stand for the defense. Scott Smith, Greg Auman and 98.7 The Fan give the commentary:
There's the sack the Bucs have been needing. It's Gerald McCoy's ninth, tied for fifth-most by a DT in team history. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) December 22, 2013
Bucs defense holds at goal line -- incomplete on third and goal, so another FG coming from Zuerlein. — Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 22, 2013
It was again Buccaneers ball with 11:15 left in the one-score game. Facing third-and three from midfield, another misstep and turnover, taking the wind out of the sails.
Glennon sacked on third-and-3, fumbles and Rams get the ball. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 22, 2013
The Rams would look for more points to make it a two-possession game and immediately started to move the chains.
Then, on third-and-one at Tampa Bay 30-yard line.
The Bucs would not be defeated after the conversion though. The front line would stuff the second-down run to force third-and-13, make the stop, setting up the Rams for a 48-yard field goal try.
And it's good. 23-13, Rams. — Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) December 22, 2013
With time running down, the Bucs would convert first down but stall, facing a must-make fourth-and-ten.
After running down the clock and forcing the Bucs to go through their three timeouts, the Rams would turn the ball over on downs, giving Bucs the ball back with 45 seconds. But the game would end on a sack, Robert Quinn's third of the game, setting a Rams franchise record.
Robert Quinn now has his third sack of the game, 18 for the year. Breaks Kevin Carter's (who also played for the Bucs) single-season record — JennaLaineBucs (@JennaLaineBucs) December 22, 2013