Rattling the Ship: How the Rams Got to Tom Brady & the Bucs Offense

Rams defense

Getty Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams forces the Tom Brady fumble during the Rams' 34-24 home win on Sunday, September 26.

Like I said in this article, for the Los Angeles Rams to get to Tom Brady, they have to go after the guys not named Tom Brady.

They did just that in the 34-24 Sunday win over the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback and the defending Super Bowl champs.

And in looking back at this game in my film room, the Rams defense increased the pressure more than any team the 2021 Buccaneers faced, leading to an epic day of winning third down battles, forcing the Bucs to become one dimensional and getting to “TB12.” Here’s a breakdown.

The Rams Blitzed More Than Any 2021 Opponent Versus Brady

Before the 10-point win, Brady and the Bucs’ offense faced 12 blitzes against the Dallas Cowboys via Pro Football Focus and just six from the Atlanta Falcons game.

But Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris wasn’t hesitant to dial the pressure — coming after Brady on 14 blitz attempts.

The pressure got to Brady with the offense starting slow in the first quarter, Brady admitted to reporters after the Rams’ victory.

“We got off to a slow start. Anytime you do that, you’re fighting behind all day,” Brady said. “They played well offensively, and we just didn’t make enough plays on offense early to kind of take control of anything. Just not a great complimentary game by us. Got to learn from it.”

Brady ended the game with his second straight three-sack outing.

The Rams Attacked the Blindside

Along with the 14 blitzes, the Rams got 15 total quarterback hurries of Brady.

The blind side was the most attacked.

The Rams ended up getting seven hurries up that alley while facing left tackle Donavan Smith (two hurries allowed via PFF) and left guard Ali Marpet (five QB hurries). Also, center Ryan Jensen allowed five hurries his way — a first for him this season after allowing zero against Dallas and Atlanta. And one of the sacks he surrendered came against Kenny Young on this play.

Who else got Brady on the run by penetrating through his line? The two top pass rushers from a year ago Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd who both got four QB hurries apiece. Donald was in on this pressure of Brady alongside Jalen Ramsey up the left.

I mentioned how the Rams could plug Donald over the LT Smith to test the blind side protector, especially after speedy edge rusher Dante Fowler got the better of Smith on this play that resulted in a sack/strip. Well, A.D. accomplished a near similar thing below up Smith’s side, but with Rob Gronkowski labeled the one who gives up the sack.

No Running Game Against the Rams Defense

The Rams forced Brady in a situation where he had to become Kyler Murray or Lamar Jackson and lead the team in rushing as a QB. Not Brady’s game at all.

And when the top rusher is Brady with 14 yards, the advantage easily belongs to the Rams.

How ineffective were the T.B running backs? Well, Leonard Fournette was held to just 8 yards, Ronald Jones finished with 11, and Giovani Bernard surrendered one sack on a botched blitz pick up attempt and Young exploded into him below.

Lack of RB play also leads to inefficiency on third downs, where the Bucs only converted 46.1% of their drives there.

Rams Prevented Multiple aerial TD’s from Brady

Stat wise, Brady’s 432-yard day makes it look like a typical day at the offense for the legend.

Except it wasn’t by Rams terms.

Brady couldn’t complete the ball inside the end zone until late in the fourth quarter with 1:10 to go. And it was a 7-yarder to Bernard.

Overall, the Bucs may have gotten more total yards than the Rams at 447-406. They also won the first down battle with 27. But the Rams defense proved they can rattle the ship with Brady at the controls.

“I thought Raheem (Morris) had a great plan and the defensive coaching staff,” head coach Sean McVay told reporters. “And that’s an excellent offense. I mean, they’re going to make some of their plays. I thought we were physical throughout. They made their plays but, overall, I thought we did a great job.”

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