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Swing Points - Week 7 St. Louis Rams

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In Week 7 of the 2010 Season, the 3-3 St. Louis Rams faced off against the 3-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Bucs were coming off a blowout loss against the New Orleans Saints, the St. Louis Rams were coming off an impressive win over the San Diego Chargers. With Sam Bradford under center and Steven Jackson in the backfield, the Rams had a decent offense, despite a lack of wide receivers. On defense, Chris Long had been ripping apart right tackles and was bound to destroy Jeremy Trueblood as well. The fact that the Bucs had just been ripped apart by the Saints' offense made this seem like a tough matchup for the Bucs.

The Buccaneers started out on the right foot. Stylez G. White strip-sacked Sam Bradford on the Rams' first drive, with Kyle Moore recovering the fumble. This gave the offense the ball at the Rams' 6-yard-line, and it seemed like the Bucs were in prime position to get off to a great start. Then, Kellen Winslow was called for a 10-yard Offensive Pass Interference penalty. On the next play, Davin Joseph was called for Offensive Holding, pushing them back another 10 yards. That was then followed by a 9-yard sack of Josh Freeman. Miraculously, the Bucs decided to run the ball, and Cadillac Williams managed to get a whopping 1 yard on that play. That left the Bucs with a 3rd-and-34 situation at the Rams' 40-yard-line - just on the edge of field goal range. Freeman managed to get the Bucs back to the 11-yard line with a 23-yard completion to Mike Williams, allowing Connor Barth to at least put 3 points on the board. But not getting a touchdown there was demoralizing. 

The Rams then took over the second half. First, they got on the field with a 25-yard field goal. Then they put together a balanced, 80-yard touchdown drive capped off with a 5-yard pass to Danny Amendola to go ahead 10-3. On their very next drive they added another touchdown, this time in the form of a 2-yard pass to Michael Hoomanawanui, which game them a commanding 17-3 lead. The Bucs just managed to put one field up against that scoring prowess, making it 17-6 into the half. The Bucs had played a really poor half of football on both sides of the ball, and would need to improve a lot if they wanted to walk away with this win. 

The Bucs came out of the locker room, and managed to do just that. They forced the Rams to punt the ball after three plays in their first drive. The offense then added another field goal, making it 17-9. It was still a two-score game, but the Bucs were creeping closer. The Bucs forced the Rams to punt again on the next drive, and a 9-play 49-yard drive was then capped off by Connor Barth's fourth field goal, making it 17-12. The Bucs had somehow managed to shut down the Rams' offense and make it a one-score game again. They had a full quarter to add that one score. 

The Rams, however, spent almost all of the fourth quarter milking the clock. The Bucs managed to get in one drive, but were forced to punt quickly. But with 4:45 left in the fourth half the Bucs got the ball back at their own 19-yard line, and that's when the game swung in the Bucs' direction. It was time for Josh Freeman to put up a game-winning touchdown drive.

And that's exactly what he did. Josh Freeman put together a measured, consistent drive. When no one was open downfield, he would check it down to Cadillac Wiliams, who caught 6 passes for 24 yards on the drive. Kellen Winslow added 2 receptions for 17 yards, Sammie Stroughter caught one for 11 yards and Freeman himself scrambled for 8 yards. But the star of the drive was Mike Williams. First he caught a 16-yard pass on second down, to get the Bucs past midfield. But the biggest play of the drive came on 3rd-and-10 with 30 seconds remaining on the clock. There was little time left for the Bucs to score, and needed to come up big now. Josh Freeman took the snap, wheeled left and fired a quick pass underneath to Mike Williams, who managed to eldue about 4 would-be tacklers before being taken down at the 1-yard line. From there it took the Bucs two snaps to add the game-winning score with just 10 seconds remaining, as Cadillac Williams caught a touchdown pass in traffic. 

This game was marred by a horrible first half, ugly as sin. But the Bucs rebounded in the second half and showed yet again that they could bounce back. Josh Freeman orchestrated a magnificent touchdown drive, and Mike Williams made the key play in that drive. At 4-2 now, the Bucs were fighting for the division crown in the NFC South.