When it came time to deliver and the game was still within reach early in the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon found himself in a desolate place against the St. Louis Rams, with no protection and no running game to turn to.
On third-and-3, with 9:21 remaining, the Rams swarmed the pocket with an all-out blitz. Linebacker Alec Ogletree forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end William Hayes, which gave the Rams possession at the St. Louis 41.
After a 48-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein extended the Rams’ lead to 23-13, defensive end Chris Long came bursting off the edge, beating right tackle Demar Dotson outright on third-and-2 and sending Glennon tumbling to the ground for an 8-yard loss.
Then just after the two-minute warning, on a desperate fourth-and-10 at the Tampa Bay 36, in came Robert Quinn, spinning to the inside and past left tackle Donald Penn for his second sack of the game.
Quinn would do it again on the Bucs’ final possession, chasing Glennon down for a 7-yard loss before receiving a hero’s welcome as he was carried off the field, the franchise’s single-season sack record in hand as the Rams beat the Bucs 23-13.
With both teams sitting at fourth place in their respective divisions, the tunes of each couldn’t have been more different. In Jeff Fischer’s bunch, an array of youngsters showed play-making ability and promise, aided by a ferocious defense and a veteran quarterback still believing there is plenty to play for. In Greg Schiano’s group, now sitting at 4-11, one can’t be so sure. They were man-handled and mauled, even if the score didn’t show it.
The Bucs offensive line surrendered seven sacks to a rabid Rams defense – the highest single game sack total by the Buccaneers since 2004. An anemic ground game mustered just 1.9 yards per carry and two lost fumbles both set up scoring drives by the Rams.
On first-and-10 at the Tampa Bay 30, Ogletree stripped the ball from running back Bobby Rainey that was recovered by Hayes at the Tampa Bay 27, the first of two fumble recoveries in the game for the sixth-year defensive end.
Wide receiver Stedman Bailey then took a double reverse from Chris Givens 27-yards for a touchdown, giving the Rams a 14-7 lead.
The Rams had just gotten on the board moments earlier with quarterback Kellen Clemens leading a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped off by rookie running back Zac Stacy diving over a sea of Bucs defenders at the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown, matching the Bucs’ 1-yard run from Rainey on the second possession of the game.
Tampa Bay’s offense received a gift via two Rams’ penalties on the opening drive, with Vincent Jackson making a 30-yard catch over the middle on third-and-10 at the St. Louis 3 yard line, setting up Rainey’s touchdown.
Jackson caught 5 passes on 10 targets for 89 receiving yards. Rainey rushed for 37 yards on 20 carries, while Glennon went 16 of 26 for 158 passing yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Clemens was 20 of 16 for 158 passing yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Stacy rushed for a career-high 104 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while rookie wide receiver Stedman Bailey finished with 71 all-purpose yards and a touchdown, helping fill a void left by the absence of Tavon Austin who missed the game with an ankle injury.
Rams Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jake Long was carted off the field in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return … The Rams outgained the Bucs offensively 277 to 170 yards with the Bucs managing just 59 yards on the ground … Robert Quinn‘s three-sack performance gave him 18 for the year, beating Kevin Carter’s single-season franchise record of 17 in 1999. Carter, the Rams’ sixth-overall pick in 1995, spent his last two seasons (2007, 2008) as a member of the Buccaneers … With his ninth sack of the season, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy tied Warren Sapp and Brad Culpepper for the fifth-most sacks in franchise history by a defensive tackle … Kicker Rian Lindell went two for two on field goals of 35 and 32 yards, while Greg Zuerlein made kicks of 54, 25 and 48 yards … The Bucs offensive line surrendered seven sacks, the highest in a single game since Nov. 14, 2004 against the Atlanta Falcons with Brian Griese at quarterback … Backup safety Keith Tandy, who started in place of injured Mark Barron, recorded his first career fumble recovery as did linebacker Lavonte David … Defensive end William Gholston made his first career start, recording six combined tackles and one tackle for a loss.