Buccaneers, Tom Brady have another prime-time failure as Rams pull out a big win

Maybe there’s something to the jokes about Tom Brady playing past his bedtime, after all.

Brady struggled again in prime time. His interception to Los Angeles Rams safety Jordan Fuller in the final two minutes, on a deep pass that wasn’t close to intended receiver Cameron Brate, sealed the 27-24 win for the Rams. The Buccaneers are 1-3 in prime time this season, with only an unimpressive close win over the New York Giants saving them from being winless.

Brady started well, but late at night — long past when the notoriously health-conscious Brady is usually in bed — he made some second-half mistakes and couldn’t drive the Buccaneers to a game-winning score. His interception that ended the Bucs’ chances was startling. It’s not a mistake Brady has made too often, and it’ll bring up more questions about what he has left at 43 years old.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass as offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (78) blocks Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (54). (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Rams make key plays to get a road win

On the other side, Rams quarterback Jared Goff made plays when it mattered. Goff wasn’t perfect on Monday night. He threw a couple interceptions, but he orchestrated a pass-heavy gameplan on the road against one of the NFL’s best defenses. Goff threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, and led a go-ahead drive in the final few minutes.

The Rams relied on quick passes to nullify two of the Bucs’ biggest defensive strengths, their pass rush and stopping the run. Goff did a very good job getting the ball to his playmakers, usually Robert Woods or Cooper Kupp, in a position to gain yards after the catch.

Goff was at his best after his biggest mistake of the game.

On a key fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, the Rams had fantastic coverage when the Buccaneers called a rollout pass and Brady threw incomplete. At that point, it looked like the Rams were on their way to a win.

The Buccaneers made a huge defensive play to grab back the momentum. Goff threw an interception over the middle to safety Jordan Whitehead. The Buccaneers had their first good drive in the second half, and Brady hit Chris Godwin for a touchdown to tie it at 24-24.

Goff shook it off. He started the ensuing drive with a nice pass to Woods to get the Rams going. He hit Kupp on a great third-down pass to push the Rams into field-goal range. Matt Gay hit a 40-yard attempt with 2:36 left to give Los Angeles a 27-24 lead.

Brady had a chance to answer. He couldn’t.

Tom Brady struggles on Monday night

Brady missed a lot of passes he usually makes. An interception deep down the middle of the field in the third quarter was badly underthrown against heavy coverage. Brady was lucky in the third quarter when he was hit in the end zone and might have fumbled, but officials ruled his arm was moving forward and it was an incomplete pass. The Buccaneers had just 8 yards in a rough third quarter. Brady didn’t produce much when under pressure or throwing deep. Brady was 26-of-48 for 216 yards, with a pair of interceptions.

Brady even had a rare penalty for an illegal forward pass when his initial pass was batted back to him and he tried throwing it again. Brady has played a lot of football and knows that’s against the rules.

Brady had a chance to be the hero. The Buccaneers got the ball with 2:32 left, down 3 points. The drive started well, with a couple completions and a first down. Then suddenly Brady sailed a pass well over Brate for an easy interception and the game was over.

Brady has had a good season. But under the lights in prime time, a situation that Brady has thrived in before, he has been a different quarterback. His final interception, which locked up a Rams win, was the type of play you haven’t seen from him often, in the daytime or at night.

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