The St. Louis Rams beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 doesn’t really mean anything: Both teams won’t make the playoffs. But it was probably the last time the Rams win a game in St. Louis with their owner hellbent on relocation, while actually doing it without anything special from Todd Gurley.
Since he started his NFL career, the Rams wins came when Gurley ran amok. But he was held to just 48 yards on 21 carries (one touchdown) while doing a bit more damage as a receiver. The Rams didn’t need anything big from him. They simply didn’t turn the ball over, which maybe was more about Case Keenum (234 yards, two touchdown passes) starting instead of Nick Foles, while Tavon Austin, who also had a receiving touchdown, added another one on the ground to keep on demonstrating his incredible versatility as an offensive playmaker.
The Rams also did an incredible job of putting pressure of Jameis Winston. He wasn’t sacked, but he did get hit or put under duress on 22 of his 51 dropbacks, more than anything he’s seen this season. He was blitzed 26 times, resulting in 14 off target throws and 12 overthrown passes. Doug Martin was actually having a pretty good day (91 yards, 18 carries), so it’s interesting why they felt it was necessary to throw the ball 50 times through a struggling Winston.
Bigger than the game and result, with both teams now at 6-8, needing a miracle to make the playoffs, was the Rams playing in front of 51,295 who possibly came to say goodbye to a team that won a Super Bowl pretty quickly after moving from Los Angeles to St. Louis and then made another one, but has failed to make the playoffs in over 10 years, which has generated apathy from the locals towards the team. Even if now they’re mobilizing to keep the franchise in the city, there’s a very good chance it’s too late, even if the Rams aren’t sure where they’ll be playing next season.