The Los Angeles Rams won the toss and elected to defer, putting the ball in the hands of the Buccaneer offense first. They showed some flash to start the drive but it fizzled behind two-straight incompletions and the Bucs punted their first possession away from midfield.
It pinned the Rams at their own 20 to start their first offensive drive of the game. They'd get as far as the nine-yard line as quarterback Matthew Stafford wheeled and dealed to four different receivers but were ultimately stopped by the Bucs' defense. They settled for the field goal, kicked by former Bucs' draft pick Matt Gay, to get on the board 3-0 with 8:01 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bucs wouldn't be able to answer, going three and out on their next drive. It gave the ball right back to the Rams, who this time would do something with it.
Los Angeles started at their own 29 and in seven plays, they were in the end zone. It was helped along by a couple Bucs penalties. Cornerback Jamel Dean was called for defensive pass interference, though Stafford was hit on the throw. Then defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was flagged for taunting after nearly sacking Stafford inside the red zone. The drive ended on a seven-yard pass to tight end Kendall Blanton that put the Rams up 10-0 with 3:28 left in the first quarter.
The Bucs would get a little bit more on the next drive and at least get on the board after quarterback Tom Brady hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 29-yard gain. It helped the Bucs into field goal range and Ryan Succop was good from 45 yards out, making the score 10-3 with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
It wouldn't take long for the Rams to answer. After a huge sack of Stafford by defensive tackle Vita Vea, a busted coverage on wide receiver Cooper Kupp ended in a 70-yard touchdown, extending the Rams' lead to 17-3 as the teams entered the second quarter.
The Bucs' defense then served the Rams their first three-and-out of the game, getting the ball right back.
Another promising start to the drive thanks in large part to Mike Evans, the Bucs would then stall out thanks of all things to getting behind the chains due to a personal foul penalty on Tom Brady. The Bucs then attempted a field goal which was no good and the score stayed at 17-3.
The Rams then moved the ball just past midfield but thanks to a big-time tackle for loss on Sony Michele by Lavonte David, they ended up settling for a field goal try and Gay got it. It made the score 20-3 with 2:19 to play before halftime.
Brady was sacked on first down and dropped for a loss of seven, making it second and 17. To make matters work the next pass by Brady was intercepted by safety Nick Scott and Los Angeles took back over at the Bucs' 31.
They'd take it all the way to the goal line before Antoine Winfield Jr. forced the ball out of Akers' hands. The refs blew the play dead before Winfield could return it and initially called Akers down. They reviewed the play and it was overturned so the Rams couldn't add to their lead.
Brady took a knee and the teams went into the half with the Bucs trailing 20-3.
The Rams began the second half with the ball and after managing a couple first downs, a delay of game penalty and a tackle for loss would stall them enough that they'd punt their first possession of the half away with 11:51 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bucs took over at their own five-yard line after the punt but wouldn't be able to generate any sort of offensive momentum and punted the ball right back.
The punt was returned to the Bucs' 28-yard line, giving the Rams a short field to work with. AS such, the Rams would be able to span the field on just six plays and get in the end zone on a third-down quarterback sneak to go up 27-3 with 7:07 left in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay looked as though they would be able to answer on their next drive after Brady hit Gronk for a gain of 42 yards on a beautiful catch and run in which he stepped up in the pocket. But under constant pressure, Brady wasn't able to do much more and despite getting all the way to the 12, the Bucs would settle for another field goal making the score 27-6 with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter.
The next drive for the Rams ended immediately despite the kickoff going out of bounds and them starting at the 40 as a result. Stafford was complete to Kupp but cornerback Jamel Dean forced the ball out and Sean Murphy-Bunting recovered it, setting the Bucs' offense up at the Rams' 30.
Tampa Bay would finally capitalize as they got in a first and goal situation at the one yard line before Brady handed the ball off to Fournette who took it to the outside and into the end zone. It made the score 27-13 with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Bucs then served up another three-and-out to the Rams' offense and Brady and Co. were back on the field with 14:41 left to go in the game.
What happened next was the biggest emotional rollercoaster as Brady was sacked and fumbled the ball, giving it back to the Rams thanks to Von Miller. But then on the first play of the next drive, the snap was high for Stafford and both Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul chased the ball down with Stafford. JPP ended up getting to it, giving the ball right back to the Bucs' offense.
Brady promptly hit Gronkowski on the first play and got the Bucs to the 32 in a hurry. He was sacked on third down and five though by Miller again and it became fourth and 14. The Bucs would go for it, though. Brady tried for Evans and the ball was incomplete as Evans was hit hard in the head. The refs called an unnecessary hit but it was a dead-ball foul and the Rams still took over possession.
They'd get all the way to the Bucs' 29 yard line where Gay would come out to attempt the 47-yard field goal. He'd miss the kick, leaving the score at 27-13 with 6:31 left in the game.
The Bucs got to the Rams' 31 but would turn the ball over on downs after having to go for it on fourth down and nine. The Rams would take over with four and a half minutes left.
They wouldn't get much and they'd punt the ball right back to the Buccaneers, but it costed Tampa Bay all three of their timeouts. The Bucs took back over just about four minutes to play.
Brady hit Miller on a 19-yard throw to start the drive. Two plays later, he hit Evans streaking down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown. It took them exactly 36 seconds and it put them within a score of the Rams, 27-20 with 3:20 left in the game.
The Rams returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 20 and would take over with the Bucs not being able to stop the clock. Stafford handed the ball off to Akers on second down and Ndamukong Suh forced a fumble which was then recovered by David, giving the Bucs' offense the ball at the Rams' 30. The game hit the two-minute warning with the Bucs facing second and five at the 25. There was some confusion on a third-down catch by Brate. The Bucs thought they got the first down, the refs interjected saying it was fourth down. They reviewed the play after the Rams took a timeout and ruled that it wasn't quite a first down but inched the ball close. As everyone was expecting a quarterback sneak with Brady lined up under center on first down, he handed it off to Fournette who not only got the first down but then brought it all the way into the end zone. The score was then tied with the good point after with 42 seconds left.
The Rams wasted no time and after Stafford was able to hit Kupp for 44 yards, it set up a 30-yard field goal that Matt Gay hit, winning the game for the Rams and eliminating the Bucs' Super Bowl hopes.