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Takeaways from the Bucs Win Over the Rams | Week 9

Top notes from Sunday's exhilarating 16-13 victory against the Rams 

Week 9 Takeaways, Rams

In thrilling fashion, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers arose victorious over the Los Angeles Rams following a game-winning drive in the final 44 seconds of the game. In the matchup that pitted the two previous Super Bowl winners against one another, the Bucs snapped a three-game losing streak and improved their overall record to 4-5. Tampa Bay moved back into a tie with the Atlanta Falcons for first place atop the NFC South. 

"That was awesome," Tom Brady exclaimed in his postgame press conference. "That was f_ awesome…We needed it and we fought to the end. Defense played great; we made some plays offensively. I know we left a few out there but it's a tough team." 

Cade Otton's catch in the final 13 seconds became Tampa Bay's sole touchdown of the day as the offense struggled to sustain drives, convert on third down, or capitalize in the red zone for the majority of the evening. However, a dominant performance by the defense and a sensational output by punter Jake Camarda put the Bucs in position to escape with a win. Many moments could be outlined in the highlighted rundown from Week Nine but these few usurp the rest. 

Late Game Heroics 

On Sunday, Tom Brady led the 55th game-winning drive of his career against the Rams. Down by a four-point deficit, the Bucs needed to drive 60 yards in 44 seconds with no timeouts left. In 35 seconds, Tampa Bay accomplished the challenging feat. Brady led a methodical six-play drive that culminated in a Cade Otton one-yard touchdown pass off a chip-and-release route. From first-and-goal with 13 seconds remaining in the Week Nine contest, the ball was snapped, and Leonard Fournette motioned to the left following the fake handoff, which drew the eyes of the Rams' bunch formation. Otton chipped the linebacker, pivoted, and spun his body around to catch a perfect between-the-numbers pass by Brady out of the flat, resulting in a 16-13 victory. The Bucs sold a run play and executed it to perfection, deceiving the Rams' defense for an opening into the end zone. Several plays prior to the touchdown, Otton's 28-yard gain over the middle of the field made the final play plausible. That shot across midfield allowed the Bucs to spike the ball and have time for a few quick out routes to get playmakers out of bounds. Otton finished the game with five receptions for 68 yards, which helped Brady complete 36 of 58 passes for 280 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. 

"Cade is huge, Cade has been huge the last couple weeks, his blocking, making quality catches, making timely catches, and again it not being too big for him," Todd Bowles commented. "He's developing into a good pro early in his career." 

Two-Sack Performance 

On Sunday, Bucs' nose tackle Vita Vea spearheaded the defensive effort against the Rams, accumulating two of the team's four sacks. Tampa Bay held the Rams to 206 total yards of offense, with 127 of those yards coming on eight catches by Cooper Kupp, including a 69-yard touchdown catch. For the majority of the game, the Bucs' defense compiled a stifling performance. Vea's disruption in the interior fortified the unit and put L.A. into unfavorable down-and-distance situations with burst off the snap. 

Vea's first sack came in the first quarter off a double team. With a speed-to-power conversion, Vea bypassed two blockers to drop Matthew Stafford for a loss of nine. His second sack came in the third frame from second-and-ten, Vea utilized a lethal swim move to out-leverage his opponent for an open lane to Stafford. He drilled the Rams' quarterback for a loss of seven yards, which forced them into third-and-long. Both contributed to stalled drives, as the Rams only converted four of 15 third-down tries in the Week Nine clash.

Vea currently leads the Bucs with 6.5 sacks halfway through the 2022 slate, surpassing his previous career-high of 4.0 in a single season. He consistently pushed the pocket with an effective bull rush and used explosiveness to shed blockers. He closed well and was tough at the point of attack.  Vea became the defensive catalyst, continuing his reign of dominion on opposing offensive attacks. 

Special Teams Star 

Jake Camarda, the club's rookie punter, commanded the field position battle throughout the duration of the game. He averaged 59.5 yards on six punts – which is the best mark in team history. Camarda hit a 68-yarder in the first half to the cheers of the crowd and a jaw-dropping 74-yarder in the third quarter that tied for the longest punt in franchise history. In addition, he lobbed a 66-yarder in the fourth frame that barely touched the goal line for a touchback. Camarda kept the Buccaneers hopes alive throughout the ballgame, repeatedly pinning the Rams behind their own 10-yard line. Special teams play may not occupy headlines that often, but Camarda's production certainly deserves recognition. He was awarded the game ball during the team's postgame locker room festivities by Todd Bowles. "He was huge today," Bowles stated after the win. "Without him punting that ball and changing the field position, we probably would have been in some tough situations."

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