Sports Rams' Donald out to disrupt Brady, Buccaneers once again

09:00  24 september  2021
09:00  24 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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Brady , 43, is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer now, but the challenge for the Rams (6-3) doesn’t look any easier as they face the Bucs (7-3) at Raymond James Stadium on Monday night. The Rams sent out a stat suggesting that Goff has been Brady ’s equal in recent prime time games, Goff passing for more yards (4,279-4,207) and touchdowns (25-21) on fewer attempts (561-596) in their past 15 starts at night, each man’s team going 9-6. Goff batted away a question about going up against Brady , without fuss or curses.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Los Angeles Rams for an early-season showdown between a team that won the Super Bowl in its home stadium last season and a team that hopes to do the same this year. Donald didn’t have a sack against the Colts, but the last of his three quarterback hits knocked Indianapolis starter Carson Wentz out of the game in the fourth quarter. While Donald was kept off the stats sheet in last year’s meeting, his mere presence did plenty to disrupt Brady and the passing game.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kept Aaron Donald off the stat sheet last season.

  Rams' Donald out to disrupt Brady, Buccaneers once again © Provided by The Canadian Press

No tackles. No sacks. No hits, hurries or passes defended for the first time in the defensive tackle’s decorated career.

But it came at a price, as Donald’s presence and performance created opportunities elsewhere in the Los Angeles Rams’ 27-24 win.

“I just know he commands so much attention, whether it’s a double team, even a triple team sometimes, that opens things up for other guys. Other guys had really, really big games, and that’s a big credit to him,” safety Jordan Fuller said.

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Rams defensive end Aaron Donald sends Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady flying after a pass attempt during Monday’s game in Tampa, Fla. Brady was 26 of 48 for 216 yards with two TDs and two interceptions as Los Angeles beat Tampa Bay, 27-24. Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press. The Rams ’ defense pressured Tom Brady all night and sealed the win with its second interception of the six-time Super Bowl champion. Cooper Kupp had 11 receptions for 145 yards and Woods finished with 10 catches for 130 yards to help the Rams climb back into first place in the NFC West.

Against the Rams , Brady was 1-for-9 on passes thrown 15-yards-or-more and that's where the two interceptions came into play. Any pass over 15 yards was either incomplete or a turnover. Brady explained what Los Angeles did to make it so difficult to complete those passes. While the Rams rank as a top defense in the NFL, the inability to throw down the field is starting to become a trend for Brady . Brady is 0-19 on deep passes in his last 4 games and missed on his last 22 deep attempts, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

It was just the third time in 112 career games Donald did not record a tackle, something Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich doesn’t expect to be able to replicate this week when two of the top five betting favorites to win the Super Bowl square off.

“Obviously, you try to do things from a game-plan standpoint, but when you talk about a player of that caliber, you don’t know if we’re fortunate or lucky or what we try to do worked. Either way, none of that matters. None of that matters for Sunday,” he said.

Donald has one sack through two games this season, but the three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year remains as disruptive as ever. Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz can attest to that after being knocked out Sunday by Donald in the fourth quarter of the Rams’ 27-24 win.

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With a full training camp and preseason at hand, the Buccaneers proved that they are still one of the favorites to win back-to-back Super Bowls. However, their march to the big game will have a major roadblock in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams . Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald will try to disrupt the Buccaneers offensive line every snap. Brady threw two interceptions in that game, including a pick to Fuller that preserved Los Angeles’ lead. This time, Brady is out for vengeance as he tries to lead the Buccaneers to a 3-0 start.

The Los Angeles Rams are now in first place in the NFC West following a 27-24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on "Monday Night Football.'' Jared Goff's offense came out strong to begin this game, marching 80 yards down the field to open up the scoring. Brady was trying to hit tight end Cameron Brate deep to keep Tampa Bay's comeback hopes alive, but Fuller was able to pick off the 43-year-old for the second time in the Week 11 finale. From there, Los Angeles ran out the clock to move to 7-3 on the year.

Tom Brady has enjoyed remarkable longevity because of his ability to avoid those same kind of hits when scrambling, moving in the pocket, or holding onto the ball for too long. He was eventually able to mesh his desire to protect himself with Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians’ relentless desire to create big plays in the passing game, sparking their current 10-game winning streak and a Super Bowl title.

However, the Rams caught Brady before he was able to balance those often antithetical goals, and their relentless rush led to one of his worst games. Brady was 26-of-48 passing for 216 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He didn’t complete a throw longer than 18 yards and his 4.5 yards per attempt was a season low.

“We did a good job of putting pressure on him, guys just giving him different looks,” Donald said. “Did a great job covering things on the back end, and guys had opportunities to make plays, get the ball in their hands, and took advantage of it.”

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With the Buccaneers ' Week 3 game against the Rams just four days away, Brown has limited time to be cleared to play. The wide receiver will need two negative tests, 24 hours apart before being eligible to play. "It speaks for itself,” Arians responded when asked about Jones' missed pass protection that resulted in a sack and seven-yard loss. “Ro, that’s his guy. He’s got to get out of those types of situations. I thought he ran hard and protected the ball, but again , you can’t have those mental errors.

The Buccaneers could be without one of their best pass rushers against one of the best passing offenses in the NFL this week. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul has received a second opinion on a shoulder injury that appeared on the Bucs injury report on Wednesday - the opinion being that Pierre-Paul is in need of rest, which leaves his status in doubt for Sunday's matchup against the Los Angeles Rams . We'll see if the Buccaneers agree and rule him out of Sunday's game in the coming days.

Fuller believes Donald underplayed his role in making Brady so uncomfortable.

“I can tell you for one thing, I know opposing offenses fear him. And, I mean, I know that for a fact,” Fuller said. “He wrecks the whole game. And just having a force like that in the middle of the defense, it’s special. We’re really lucky to have him, but I know it poses a big problem for whoever we play.”

Donald is on the verge of becoming the Rams' career leader in sacks. He needs 1 1/2 to pass Leonard Little's mark of 87 1/2, which goes back to when sacks became an official statistic in 1982 and therefore doesn't reflect Deacon Jones' prodigious ability for bringing down the quarterback.

Bringing down Brady multiple times would be a fitting way to claim the record, but Donald has no preference in which passer is on the receiving end of that or any other hit.

“Every quarterback I’m eager to sack," he said.

NOTES: Coach Sean McVay attended a walkthrough and practice Thursday after missing Wednesday’s sessions because of a stomach bug. "I just didn’t want to leave any of our players susceptible to it, but I was here working out of my office,” he said. … OLB Leonard Floyd (ankle) and RB Darrell Henderson (ribs) missed practice for the second straight day. McVay said the Rams would be cautious with Floyd’s “nagging” injury to prevent it from lingering throughout the season.


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Dan Greenspan, The Associated Press

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