Rams Could Catch Break vs. Bucs After Latest Antonio Brown Update

Antonio Brown

Getty Antonio Brown celebrates a reception in the November 23, 2020 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football.

The Los Angeles Rams may not share the field with a seven-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion for their highly-anticipated Sunday, September 26 contest at SoFi Stadium.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first reported on the morning of Wednesday, September 22, by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

As Stroud mentioned in the above tweet, the 33-year-old Brown would have to test negative 24 hours apart in order to suit up with the 2021 Super Bowl winners down in Inglewood.

The Bucs’ Vaccination Status

Per Jenna Laine of ESPN on Thursday, September 2, and just one week before the Bucs’ season opener, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians provided this update of the team’s vaccination status.

“We’re 100% vaccinated — our entire organization — all the players, all the coaches, everybody,” said Arians, who added it became the player’s choice to receive the shots.

The Bucs, at the time, joined the Atlanta Falcons as the only NFL teams to be 100% vaccinated.

Brown got off to a Fast Start in Opener

While Tom Brady has no shortage of offensive weaponry around him, the veteran Brown got off to a strong start in 2021.

In the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium, Brown caught five passes for 121 yards and scored once in the 31-29 home win. Brown averaged a gaudy 24.2 yards per catch that evening against the Cowboy defense. The Bucs managed to place him in one-on-one battles for most of the night and became a valuable deep threat option as seen below.

Brown, however, had a more quieter second game in the rout of the Atlanta Falcons, hauling in just one pass for 17 yards and was targeted three times by Brady. Via Pro Football Focus, Brown was on the field for 28 offensive snaps at Raymond James against the NFC South rival. He ran routes on 21 of those plays.

Rams Defense Still Has Lots of Playmakers to Focus on Outside of ‘A.B.’

Even if Brown doesn’t play, the Bucs once again have plenty of options to choose from in this offense that the Rams will have to counter on their home field in L.A.

Buccaneers beat reporter Greg Auman of The Athletic reminded people of the Bucs’ receiving production from the guys not named Antonio Brown:

Of that quartet, Evans was the top receiving target in the 23-point win over Atlanta, grabbing five passes on nine targets for 75 yards and two touchdowns. However, tight end and multiple Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski also crossed the goal line twice versus Atlanta and finished with four catches for 39 yards. Godwin also a TD pass and was one of three Buccaneers with four receptions.

However, Brady and the Bucs will be facing a Rams defense with most of the same faces that frustrated them a season ago in L.A.’s 27-24 road victory on Monday Night Football.

Brady was not only sacked once in the contest, but was intercepted twice by someone who also shares the No. 199 pick in the draft status with him: Jordan Fuller. The Rams reminded people of Fuller’s breakout night on Tuesday evening via Twitter.

Brown led the Bucs with eight catches that evening, but was bottled to 57 yards. No Tampa Bay WR caught a 20-yard pass that evening against Fuller, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald and company.

With former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris now leading the Ram defense, L.A. has allowed an average of 19 points in two games. The Rams have also forced two takeaways in both victories over the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

Read More