Rookie safety Jordan Fuller played his best game of his young season and took advantage of miscues the Los Angeles Rams were able to force on the defensive side of the ball.
The former sixth round pick out of Ohio State made his first two interceptions of his NFL career in the Rams 27-24 triumph victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football at Raymond James Stadium.
Fuller picked off Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady once in the third quarter and then provided the game sealing second interception with 1:49 remaining in the fourth, allowing the Rams to then run out the clock and punt the ball away as the clock hit zeros.
“I was happy to be able to make a play down the stretch,” said Fuller, who spent three games on injured reserve this season and looked to make an immediate impact in his return. “We had this vision of being a really really stout defense, and really tough to play against, beautiful thing is we’ve played well but we have a whole lot to correct, still building this thing.”
“Just a bad read. Bad throw, decision, everything. Can’t happen,” Brady said after the game when referring to his inaccurate turnover down the field.
The Rams improved 7-3 and jumped into first place in the NFC West, while the Buccaneers dropped to 6-4 and remain in second in the NFC South.
“A great team win. All three phases came together,” Rams coach Sean McVay said.
Brady finished the night completing 26-of-48 passes for 216 yards while throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions.
”They did a good job preventing (the big play),” Brady added. ”They play a defense that makes them tough to hit. Not impossible, but we didn’t hit any.”
Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff finished a stellar performance going 39-of-51 for 376 yards and threw three touchdowns and two interceptions as well on the night.
Goff found a rhythm early after leading the Rams to the end zone on their first possession of the game, connecting with Robert Woods for a four-yard touchdown that ended a 13 play, 80-yard drive.
Cooper Kupp finished with 11 receptions for 145 yards, while Woods had 12 catches for 130 and a touchdown.
“We just had a lot of stuff that was dialed up for them. When Cooper was breaking tackles, and Robert for that matter, you kind of had a good feeling about how the game was going to go,” Goff said.
Brady and Buccaneers responded and ran off 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 lead after he found wide receiver Mike Evans for a 9-yard score. Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette then added a 2-yard rushing score moments later.
In the second and third, Los Angeles called upon its two rookie offensive weapons to make plays and they responded in big moments.
Wide receiver Van Jefferson, a second-round pick from Florida caught a 7-yard pass for his first career touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
Running back Cam Akers, who was a second-round pick from Florida State then caught a 4-yard pass and recorded his first career touchdown as well, giving the Rams a 24-17 lead.
“We were playing a tough team, really good team in the NFC, on the road in prime time,” Goff said. “Making that drive at the end of the game, and then getting the interception, that sequence right there shows what we’re made of.”
In the fourth, Brady found Chris Godwin for a 13-yard score to tie the game at 24-all, but the Rams still had 3:53 remaining.
Los Angeles called upon newly acquired kicker Matt Gay throughout the game, as he converted 2-3 field goals and connected on the game winning 40 yard kick in the fourth with 2:36 remaining to give the Rams a 27-24 advantage.
”I found out on Monday that the Rams were bringing me in,” Gay said. ”It was a quick flight so I could begin testing so I could be eligible for the game. Saturday was the first day I could be in the building. Luckily we played Monday night.”
Brady looked to lead Tampa Bay on a game-winning drive like he had done countless times when being with New England, but the 43 year-old overthrew tight end Cameron Brate and Fuller captured the game sealing interception for a 27-24 victory.
“Those are going to be in the man cave someday,” Fuller said on his interceptions against Brady.
The Rams next return home to host NFC West San Francisco 49ers (4-6) on Sunday at SoFi stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:05 pacific time.