Deja vu: In Rams, Bucs face one of NFL's worst offenses
You may remember that in the days leading up to Sunday's Bucs-Saints game, we pointed out that the Saints defense was easily the worst in the NFL statistically, ranking last in points and yards allowed, worst in rushing yards allowed and second-worst in passing yards.
And yes, that Saints defense held the Bucs to 17 points and 291 yards, both the lowest against the Saints all season, in a 24-17 win over Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium.
Thursday night's game in St. Louis presents much the same opportunity for the Bucs, only on the other side of the ball, as the Rams are statistically one of the worst offenses in the NFL, despite the presence of promising rookie running back Todd Gurley.
The Rams are 31st out of 32 teams in both scoring (16.2 points per game) and total offense (297.9 yards per game), and dead last in passing offense (173.1 yards per game), passing touchdowns (8), passer rating (69.2) and third-down conversions (25.3 percent).
St. Louis bounced back nicely Sunday with a 21-14 win over the Lions, ending a five-game losing streak, with Gurley rushing for 140 yards on 16 carries with two touchdowns. In his previous four games, Gurley had totaled 171 yards on 55 carries with the same two touchdowns.
In more than half their games -- seven out of 13 -- the Rams have been held to 13 points or less, matching the most of any team in the NFL -- the Rams, 49ers and Titans are all 0-7 in such games this season. NFL teams scoring 13 or less are 7-72 this season -- that's a 1-in-11 shot at winning, with the Bucs claiming one of those wins in their 10-6 victory over the Cowboys.
If it's Case Keenum the Bucs face at quarterback, he has just 48 pass attempts this season and a single passing touchdown. One thing working in Keenum's favor -- the Rams have allowed an NFL-low 16 sacks this season, though oddly, also the fourth-highest number of quarterback hits at 89 on the season.
All this is to say the Bucs have a similar opportunity this week against a unit that ranks among the league's worst -- whether they can take advantage of that more than they did against the Saints defense remains to be seen.