Laurinaitis: "We had a good beat on (Bucs)" before game
The fact the Bucs offense has struggled lately is no secret.
But Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis insinuated after Sunday's game they are also a little more predictable than other teams, and St. Louis took advantage in a 28-13 win at Raymond James Stadium.
"We just felt like coaches do a phenomenal job of getting us prepared," Laurinaitis said. "We felt like we had a good beat on these guys going into the game, and what they were trying to do. They had some tells. So we've got to credit the coaches and credit the guys for studying hard."
Laurinaitis took advantage of one of those "tells" in his second quarter interception of Josh Freeman, one of four turnovers by the Bucs quarterback.
With the Bucs down just 7-6 and driving near midfield, they ran a playaction pass play, with Laurinitis - at least initially - biting on the fake handoff. But Laurinaitis was able to quickly recover and step in front of Freeman pass intended for WR Vincent Jackson.
"I thought it was a run, they had a tendency to run a weak lead on that," Laurinaitis said. "I saw Freeman pull the ball. I knew in playaction, they like to do some individual routes to give the wide receiver the opportunity with corners high on them, just do a deep comeback (route). I turned around and saw Vincent Jackson, so I just tried to get underneath him and turned around, hopefully he throws it to you. When he throws it right to you, you've got to catch it."
Freeman said he saw Laurinaitis bite on the hard-sell playaction fake. "Most linebackers start bailing and running to a spot, they don't get their eyes around. But right as I threw it, he popped his eyes around and made a good play. In hindsight, I should have come off that."
As for what "tells" the Bucs gave, Laurinaitis said some of it involved personnel.
"There are a lot of tells you can get from teams week to week, this team a little more so," Laurinaitis said. "So you just know when certain guys are in the game, you think more run. If other guys, think more pass. And they broke some tells. That always happens, teams self-scout, they do tendency breakers. But when they come back to the core of who they are, they go back to those tendencies."
-- JOE SMITH