As it has been on a few occasions, the defense scored the team's touchdown. With the defensive TD as the catalyst, the St. Louis Rams where able to move back into .500 (7-7-1) with the 28-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Four interceptions thrown Josh Freeman ultimately derailed Tampa Bay from coming back – especially Janoris Jenkins' interception returned for six points. Timely offensive production by the team's workhorse Steven Jackson (19 carries, 81 yards, 1 TD) and – gasp – Lance Kendricks (4 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD) also paved the way for the Rams' W.
This win was the definition of a team win. The defense kept Tampa from scoring (minus the touchdown and two field goals) and the offense scored when defense handed them the ball.
Here is your review of the five players to watch:
QB Sam Bradford
Bradford added another solid game to the season's list. While not blowing you away statistically (13 for 27, 196 yards, 2 TD, 1INT), he and the offense took advantage of Tampa's turnovers and turned them into touchdowns.
Sam also looked poised throughout the game. After having a deep ball to Chris Givens deflected, he went back at him for the first down. On the same drive, he threw a pass intended for Kendricks but he was doubled. He later thew a dart to Kendricks that set up Steven Jackson's five-yard touchdown.
Then there was the first play of the second half. Bradford hit a wide open Kendricks over the middle for an 80-yard touchdown.
Overall, Sam loooked strong in the win. His receivers made catches when needed. The offensive line also kept him upright – a huge plus.
Amendola only had five yards on two catches, but his block on Kendricks' touchdown was as crucial of a play that he could have made throughout the game.
Other receivers stepped up, however. Brandon Gibson had two nice catches (even though he had drop) for 33 yards. Givens had 3 receptions for 38 yards. Austin Pettis had Sam's second touchdown, a five-yarder.
DE Robert Quinn
According to the ESPN box score, Quinn only had one QB hit. However, his fellow D-linemen picked up the slack for him. Chris Long was around the ball a lot. He sacked Freeman once and helped defensive tackle Kendall Langford get a sack of his own. Backup DE William Hayes also had a good game, registering two more sacks.
In total, the Rams' defense sacked the quarterback five times along with nine QB hits.
Finnegan was active for the game, but rookie Trumaine Johnson started on his behalf. Still, Finnegan had three tackles.
The story here is how well the two starting rookie corners – Jenkins and Johnson – did. Jenkins, of course, had the 41-yard interception return for a touchdown, but he also had pretty good coverage on a pass intended for Vincent Jackson that would've been a touchdown. Johnson also had an INT and a TD pass breakup. Johnson could've had three picks in the game (or was it four?) but wasn't able to secure the ball.
WR Brian Quick
Even with Steve Smith on the inactive list, Quick did not do anything. He was targeted once for what would have been a first down catch, but the ball went right off his hands.
I don't know what Brian's deal is, but he sure knows how to get the fans' hopes up.....and then back down. Can we still use the 'rookie card' as an alibi?
*Special shout out to James Laurinaitis. Dude brought his A-game today. He had 12 tackles – 11 solo – and an interception and played the run well.