(FootballStL) -- We've talked all season long about how there's nothing wrong with an ugly win. And the reason we've talked so much about that is because, well, that's all the Rams had in the win column.
Today, however, was relatively easy. With the exception of a few minutes after Tampa Bay's Mike Williams scored a 61 yard touchdown to cut the Rams lead to 15 from 22, this game was never terribly in doubt.
And that was thanks to the defense. Wow.
Jeff Fisher's D forced five turnovers, had five sacks and were absolutely all over the place. It might have been as active as I'd seen that group all season long. Considering Sam Bradford didn't even throw for 200 yards (196) and completed fewer than 50% of his passes (48%) they needed everything that they got from that defense.
It's incredible to think that in winning, quite easily, 28-13 the Rams were actually outgained by the Bucs. Josh Freeman and company finished the game with 429 yards of total offense compared to just 285 for the Rams. Tampa Bay converted 23 first downs to the Rams 14. And the Bucs just dominated the time of possession battle (35:59 to 24:01).
But even with all of that this game was never really in doubt. That just goes to show how far this Rams team has come since the beginning of the season when they clearly were not ready to win on the road. That much was obvious by the way they played in Detroit and Chicago in the first few weeks.
Now? They go right into Tampa Bay, a tough place to play no matter what, and immediately take it to a solid Buccaneers team.
No, there will be no playoffs in 2012. No, they don't reach their ultimate goal. But it will help fuel them for next year as they use everything that has happened this season as a building block.
Expectations will be high in 2013. But they should be ready to attack them.