BUCS – GOAL LINE STAND : RAMS
By Leo Haggerty

First of all, please allow me to vent.  The Buccaneers start, as I will refer to it from this day forward, their National Football League banishment tour with a West Coast trip to take on the Los Angeles Rams.  The Bucs will not return to the friendly digs of Raymond James Stadium until November 10th.  Hey, NFL, thanks for nothing.

Tampa Bay is coming off a gut-wrenched home loss to the Giants when K Matt Gay missed a chip-shot field goal as time expired leaving the Pewter Pirates at 1-2 on the season.  Los Angeles moved to 3-0 with a road win against the Browns.

On paper, this looks like a blowout but, let me remind you, the game is not played on papyrus.  The Bucs have a chance because it’s the NFL and strange things happen any given Sunday.

With that being said, here are my 4 keys to victory for the Buccaneers.  And, yes, the Pewter Pirates can win and below are the reasons why I believe that is possible.

1ST DOWN – FORGET ABOUT IT

This will be the hardest one for the Buccaneers to accomplish after how Tampa Bay lost last weekend.  It was a game the Bucs will win 99% of the time.  Last week was that 1% that they lose and those are the most difficult to accept and get over.

It’s a must that the Pewter Pirates wipe that bad loss clean from their mind.  Any lingering memory will be fatal.

2ND DOWN – KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE GAS

The Rams are an offensive machine.  The only time LA doesn’t score is during the National Anthem.

Don’t expect this game to be any different.  The West Coast guys will score points.

The Buccaneers need to score early and score often.  This game should turn into a shoot-out and the Pewter Pirates need to go into the contest ready to match LA score for score.

3RD DOWN – STAY IN THE GAME

The Rams are going to try and go for the quick knockout.  Los Angeles wants to get an early lead and force the Bucs to abandon the run and put the game all on the shoulders of QB Jameis Winston.

Not that HC Bruce Arians doesn’t have confidence in #3 but he doesn’t want to be put in the situation where the offense becomes one-dimensional.  That is usually the kiss-of-death in the NFL and don’t expect it to be any different in Los Angeles.

The Pewter Pirates need to be ahead or no worse that a score down at halftime.  That way the entire playbook is still open for OC Byron Leftwich and the Rams defensive line, led by DT Aaron Donald, just can’t pin their ears back and come after Winston.

4TH DOWN – KEEP  GOFF GUESSING

An army travels on its stomach.  No food, no fight.

An NFL team travels by how their quarterback plays.  Bad game by the QB almost always equates to a bad outcome for the team.

Flashback to the Super Bowl and Jared Goff.  The New England Patriots completely discombobulated the Rams signal caller.  They totally confused #16 and that led to indecisive throws and sacks and interceptions.

Tampa Bay needs to take that page from the Pats playbook.  Don’t give Goff any pre-snap reads and make him make decisions on the run.  That will go a long way to making a Buccaneer victory a reality.

Ok, here’s my pick.  I’m saying the Buccaneers pull off the upset with an assist to Carli Lloyd.  The Secret ad took, in my opinion, a cheap shot at the Bucs along with K Gay and that’s a no-no.

NFL players are a very prideful group and the Pewter Pirates are no exception.  They do NOT want to be the brunt of any jokes and, I can almost guarantee you, that the advertisement in question had a prominent spot on a bulletin board in the Tampa Bay locker room.

So, yes, I’m calling the upset.  TB, 31-30, with a late Gay FG to win it.  Now that would be justice.

Am I right.  Tune in at 4ish Sunday and find out.  Enjoy.