Bucs fall short in late-game comeback as Rams reach NFC Championship
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
  • A rough first half for the Bucs

The Los Angeles Rams won the coin toss and decided to defer the football and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers started the game with the football on offense.

Leonard Fournette made his return from injury while Tristian Wirfs was out due to his injury. Tom Brady went right to work looking for the first points of the game but was forced to punt on the first drive of the game.

Matthew Stafford got the ball and it was time for the Bucs defense to try and force a stop. The Rams first possession proved successful as they got into the endzone but were forced to kick a field goal courtesy of Matt Gay who kicked one from 26 yards out to make it 3-0.

Brady was having all sorts of trouble being caused by the Rams defense and went 0 for 3 in his first three throws and the Bucs were forced to punt the ball again on their second possession.

The Rams scored the first touchdown of the game when Stafford found Kendall Blanton who ran it in for seven yards to make it 10-0 for the visitors.

The Bucs finally got points on the board when Ryan Succop kicked a 45-yard field goal to reduce the Rams lead to seven after Brady failed to convert on a third-down conversion.

Los Angeles increased their lead when Stafford found Cooper Kupp on their next possession who ran the ball 70 yards on a 3rd down conversion for a touchdown and it was now 17-3 for the Rams.

Brady tried to produce a solid drive but an unsportsmanlike penalty kept hurting the Bucs and tried to score a field goal but Succop missed a 48-yard attempt.

The Rams kicked another field goal to make it 20-3 when Gay kicked one from 40 yards out. With 1:55 left in the first half, Brady went for a long throw but was picked off by Nick Scott and the Rams went back on offense.

On the goal line the Rams ended up fumbling the football and Tampa recovered the football with 19 seconds left in the first half and both teams went into the locker room.

  • Bucs comeback falls just short

The Rams got the ball to start the third quarter but the Tampa defense stood tall and LA was forced to punt the ball. Los Angeles scored another touchdown on their second possession of the third quarter when Stafford ran the ball on the goal line to make it 27-3.

The Rams were making Brady life a nightmare putting tremendous pressure on him and the Bucs offense and again Tampa was forced to kick a field goal and Succop made one from 27 yards out to make it 27-6.

On the following Rams possession Jamele Dean came up big for Tampa as he stripped Kupp of the football and recovered the fumble to give the ball back to Brady and the offense.

On fourth down the Bucs decided to go for it and Brady found Scotty Miller to convert and get a fresh sets of downs. Tampa got the ball to the goal line and Brady handed it off to Fournette who ran in the endzone for the touchdown to make it 27-13.

The Bucs defense came up big on the following Rams possession and LA went for their first three and out and this game was far from over. On the following possession for Brady and the Bucs Von Miller got the ball out of Bradys hands and LA recovered the football.

On the following play Stafford made a huge mistake missing the snap and the Bucs recovered the fumble to get the ball right back. On fourth down Tampa went for it but Brady missed the throw and the Rams got the ball back.

With 6:31 left in the game the Rams tried to kick a field goal but Gay missed it from 47 yards out and the game stayed a two possession game.

Brady tried to convert another fourth down but couldn't find anyone open and the Rams took over on offense with 4:26 on the clock. Tampa Bay defense came up again with another big stop and they got the ball back on offense.

With 3:20 left in regulation Brady found Mike Evans with a 55 yard throw and Evans ran in a touchdown to make it a seven point game. On the following Rams possession Ndamakong Suh was able to strip the ball free and Lavonte David recovered the football for the Bucs.

With 42 seconds on a 4th and one Brady handed it to Fournette who ran in a nine yard touchdown to tie the game. The Rams got the ball left with 35 seconds to try and score.

Stafford with an incredible throw found Kupp at the 10 yard line and with four seconds left Gay kicked the game winning field goal to send the Rams to the NFC Championship.