ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) - With many members of the 1999 Rams in attendance Thursday, the team known as ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, a usually lackluster Rams’ offense showed hints of greatness by scoring early and often in their 31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Former Rams Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Orlando Pace were cheered by fans at halftime and shown quite an offensive display thanks to the play of quarterback Case Keenum, receivers Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin, and running back Todd Gurley.
Rob Boras, operating as the Rams offensive coordinator for the second time, was near-masterful in his play calling and use of both the run game and deep passing game.
Keenum had his best game as a Ram, throwing for nearly 250 yards and finding Britt and Austin for touchdowns. The Britt catch came on a great stutter-go route coming off of play action and went for 60 yards.
The win gave Keenum his fourth victory in his last five starts, dating back to his time with the Houston Texans a season ago.
Keenum found Austin on the Rams’ first drive of the game for a 17-yard touchdown that gave St. Louis a quick lead that they would never relinquish.
The catch was just the start of a great game for Austin, who became the first player since Gale Sayers (1965) to rush for four touchdowns, return a kick for a touchdown and receive five touchdowns.
Austin added a 21-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter and showed off his speed the entire night, showing that he was the best player on the field in the week 14 matchup.
With the possibility of the Rams moving in the offseason and the possibility of Thursday’s game being the final game the Rams play at the Edward Jones Dome, fans began chants of “Keep the Rams!” after the score, while others offered their thoughts of owner Stan Kroenke.
Todd Gurley was held in check for most of the night, but found the endzone just before the half, claiming with it 1,000 rushing yards on the season and joining Eric Dickerson (1983) and Jerome Bettis (1993) as the only Rams rookies to accomplish the feat.
With the offense moving the ball at-will for most of the night, the defense was able to stay off the field for a longer period of time than in games past.
When they were on the field, defensive tackle Aaron Donald was performing like he has all season, making a case for himself as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Donald lead the defensive line in an early assault that forced Buccaneers rookie quarterback Jameis Winston to get rid of the ball before he or his receivers were ready.
The Pro-Bowl defensive tackle finished with two tackles for a loss and five total tackles.
With the Rams up 28-6 to begin the fourth quarter, the Rams defense seemed to ease up on the Buccaneers, eventually seeing Tampa Bay pull within eight points with under two minutes remaining.
With Tampa Bay attempting an onside kick, special teamer Bryce Hager covered up an easy rolling ball to seal the win for St. Louis.
The victory gave the Rams their sixth win of the season and keeps their slim playoff chances alive in the NFC Wildcard race.
Copyright 2015 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.