Despite only rushing for 76 yards, the Los Angeles Rams offensive line had an otherwise stellar performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defeating the champs by a score of 34-24. Watching the game, it didn’t even feel that close. Rumor has it that the Rams equipment staff didn’t need to wash quarterback Matthew Stafford’s uniform, on account of it being kept so clean during the contest.
The o-line didn’t allow a sack until late in the fourth quarter. Even without outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, who missed the marquee matchup due to hand and shoulder injuries, the Bucs present a formidable defensive front with Ndamukong Suh, Shaquil Barrett, and Vita Vea just to name a few.
The only time any of those defenders were mentioned on the broadcast is when they were coming on and off the field. That’s an offensive line coach’s dream. Not only did the o-line prevent that stud defensive front from having any of their names called, they refrained from the referees calling their numbers as well.
The offensive line wasn’t called for a single penalty.
Brian Allen has allowed only 1 sack while going up against Akiem Hicks, Deforest Buckner, and now Vita Vea. Absolutely phenomenal pic.twitter.com/CLsm2M6jjM— FootballByNikko (@FootballByNikko) September 27, 2021
When Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians was asked at his postgame press conference about why the pass rush couldn’t get to Stafford, he had the perfect and most accurate answer possible.
“They blocked us,” said Arians.
The offensive line kept Stafford upright for the vast majority of the game, allowing the offense to march up and down the field after their slowest of the season. While they didn’t open up many creases for Sony Michel, which is a common occurrence as far as Tampa Bay’s defense is concerned, they did just enough for the running game to chew up a bit of clock late in the game.
Much of the talk leading into this game was about how good Vita Vea is (and he is!) Brian Allen was up to the task.— SeattleRams (@seattlerams_nfl) September 27, 2021
Look at the protection here. The guy laying on his face is Vea. Who put him there?
(Please excuse the terrible screen grab, it’s only meant to make my point) https://t.co/hrj6iTKJbe pic.twitter.com/bN6FAHsJPE
Outside of one play were Vea bull rushed left guard David Edwards and got a hit on Stafford’s throwing arm, preventing a likely touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, Stafford had all day in the pocket.
The front five were also exceptional blocking downfield and on the perimeter on multiple screen passes, opening up lanes for the likes of Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee on multiple occasions, including a six yard touchdown pass to the Rams tight end.
Their downfield hustle was rewarded in more ways than one, as left tackle Andrew Whitworth was able to recover a fumble, keeping a 14 play 90 yard drive alive, resulting in the first score of the day for either team.
Even Jim Everett could appreciate what Stafford gets to work with during his days of wearing a Rams uniform and taking the snaps under center, praising Whitworth for his hustle on the play.
No one takes candy away from BIG Andrew Whitworth! #FumbleRecovery— (@Jim_Everett) September 26, 2021
Overall, the Rams offensive line came away with zero penalties, one sack allowed, few hurries for Stafford that he wasn’t prepared for, and though Sony Michel was held to 67 yards he was also facing the NFL’s top run defense and even that assignment was not too big for LA’s big men.
Offensive Lineman of the Week: RG Austin Corbett, who helped keep the elite defensive tackle combination of Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh far away from Stafford.
Who gets your top grade this week?
Perhaps Turf Show Times commenter 6791nafmarAZ said it best after the game:
I doff my hat to Brian Allen, than man who answered the call,
The man who rose above and conquered the Man Mountain known as Vita Vea
From the first snap he laid down the law
The man that I doubted had indeed come and ball
When challenged by the vaunted forklift armed beast
Allen said, Meh, I can handle this task
Single handedly being the instrument of Vea’s defeat
May Allen and the O-line continue play so alive
Working collectively as a bee hive
Opening lanes for Sony to thrive
And keeping Matt Stafford upright