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Los Angeles Rams versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Matchups to watch revisited

The sloppy play of the Rams finally caught up to them with an ugly loss at home versus the Tampa Bay Bucs.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The contest between the Los Angeles Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a wild one which created all kinds of strange and exciting plays from both sides, with the Bucs ultimately winning the matchup. Plenty happened in this game, making it an intriguing time to revisit the matchups to watch:

LT Andrew Whitworth versus EDGE Shaq Barrett

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Edge Shaq Barrett is one of the best players in the league this season, leading the entire NFL by a wide margin with his eight sacks through three weeks. Actually, Barrett has more sacks on his own than 17 teams in 2019. Left tackle Andrew Whitworth is as good as it gets, and he’ll need to be to slow down Barrett, who’s already had two contests with 3+ sacks. Barrett has a knack for knocking the ball loose too, doubling down on the effectiveness of a sack with a fumble, meaning quarterback Jared Goff has to continue to be aware of where #58 lines up.

Shaquil Barrett — in what has become a theme in 2019 — was once again unstoppable from the first to the last whistle, and was actually the player who put the game on ice with a sack-fumble that was scooped and scored by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Barrett had four tackles, one QB hit, one sack, one interception, one hit that forced an interception, one tackle-for-loss, and one forced fumble. Both left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Rob Havenstein struggled with Barrett, particularly the latter who the final sack-fumble came against.

DT Aaron Donald versus Bucs’ iOL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is as good as a player as you’ll ever see. This week he gets an optimal matchup against the Bucs’ interior offensive line as left guard Ali Marpet is a fantastic player, though center Ryan Jensen and right guard Alex Cappa are not. Donald — and his comrades — need to watch out for Jensen and his BS tactics, though they could very well wreak havoc against Jensen and Cappa, forcing mistake-prone quarterback Jameis Winston into some highly questionable decisions.

Kudos to the Bucs’ interior offensive line, because Sunday’s contest was arguably the most quiet I’ve ever seen from Aaron Donald. Donald had four tackles and one tackle-for-loss, though he had a near sack that quarterback Jameis Winston broke free from. Donald was incredibly quiet in this contest, as was the rest of the defensive line.

CB’s Aqib Talib/Marcus Peters versus WR Mike Evans

Last week’s matchup to watch:

After having his picture slapped on milk cartons across the country by the angry fantasy football mob, wide receiver Mike Evans announced himself in a major way in week three, totaling eight receptions for 190 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. This week, the Rams’ duo at boundary cornerback in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will have their hands full, though both matchup well with the tall jump-ball receiver.

It wasn’t just wide receiver Mike Evans who tortured the Rams’ secondary, third-year stud Chris Godwin eviscerated them. Evans was actually held in check until he smoked Marcus Peters for a long walk-in touchdown, registering four receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown in the game. Godwin on the other hand, was unstoppable, registering 12 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Horrible game for the entire secondary.

WR Brandin Cooks versus CB Vernon Hargreaves III

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has statistically bested himself in every week throughout the season thus far, with the potential to do it again today versus Vernon Hargreaves III. Hargreaves is what you’d call a liability in the passing game, making him a massive target as he’ll likely cover a lot of (majority of) Cooks in this contest.

Brandin Cooks was actually the least productive of the Rams’ top three receivers, though he could’ve vaulted to the top of the list had quarterback Jared Goff connected on a wide open deep post that was a walk-in touchdown for roughly 50 or so yards. Cooks had a solid game netting six receptions for 71 yards, though it was Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp who absolutely shredded the Buccaneers’ secondary.

QB Jared Goff versus QB Jameis Winston

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Yes, the two don’t play each other, though these two former first-overall draft picks are set to duel each other in what will likely decide the contest. Winston is an absolutely mistake-prone quarterback (six turnovers) who lacks the football IQ needed from the position, whereas Goff has been far more careful and effective in his career, though his 2019 season hasn’t exactly been what we’ve come to expect from Goff as he also currently has six turnovers.

What a strange contest for both guys, especially Jared Goff. Goff had moments where he looked awesome, zipping passes in tight windows, though he also had moments where he looked clueless, like when he threw three interceptions, overthrew two wide open touchdowns to Gerald Everett and Cooks, and fumbled the ball on a clear incoming sack. Jameis Winston clearly outplayed Goff with his four touchdown performance, though he also had a major gaff as he threw a pick-six to Marcus Peters, nearly allowing the Rams to comeback.

This was a tough contest the Rams will need to get out of their minds immediately as they’ll head to Seattle to face the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football.