Rams' quick strike, Lavonte David's gaffe, break open close game
Even after a shaky start, the Bucs’ 14-6 halftime deficit was hardly insurmountable.
Then came the first play of the second half: TE Lance Kendricks’ 80-yard touchdown reception, an imminently preventable play for the Bucs.
How did it happen? The Bucs linebacker, namely rookie Lavonte David, bit on a play-action fake by Rams QB Sam Bradford, leaving Kendricks streaking down the seam without a defender in sight.
“We’re trying to pull the guard, the linebackers bit and the safeties were deep,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “Lance had a good takeoff (and) it was a good throw-and-catch.”
Kendricks couldn’t believe his fortune.
“After I caught it, I looked (and) nobody was over there so I just took off running,” he said. “I noticed that they were catching up to me, that’s when I started getting tired.”
Safeties Ahmad Black and Mark Barron were trying to make up ground and stop Kendricks from going the distance, but WR Danny Amendola showed some resourcefulness, interfering with both players as they gave chase. It was just enough to spring Kendricks.
“I saw (Amendola) coming, I’m like ‘Okay, when Danny comes, you stop, take a step back and try to go around him’” Kendricks said. “That’s what I ended up doing.”
Bucs coach Greg Schiano didn’t name names, but it clearly was a regrettable mistake by David.
“It was a valuable lesson learned,” Schiano said. “Unfortunately, it was an 80-yard play.”
Said David: “We saw the guards pull and, as a linebacker, our mentality is if you see that, you have to come downhill. But I was wrong. I should have looked out at the tight end and read that it was a pass.”