Buccaneers vs. Rams: Live Score Updates

January 23, 2022, 12:59 p.m. ET

Credit…Mark Lomoglio/Associated Press

Few NFL quarterbacks have been better at getting the ball out quickly this season than Tom Brady. In the Buccaneers’ win over the Eagles, Brady averaged 2.17 seconds to clear the ball, which is the fastest mark by a quarterback this season. according to NFL Next Gen statistics.

Operating on quick, short passes allowed the Buccaneers offense to thrive against an Eagles defense that was effective in the regular season at limiting big plays. That offensive approach could also have been the result of injuries suffered by some of Tampa Bay’s most threatening playmakers, including wide receiver Chris Godwin, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in late December.

Protection up front also became a concern as two of Tampa Bay’s offensive linemen – tackle Tristan Wirfs and center Ryan Jensen – both suffered ankle injuries in the game and Philadelphia sacked Brady four time. Both Wirfs and Jensen are listed as doubtful for Sunday’s divisional round game, although Jensen looks likely to play.

The Buccaneers will face a Rams defense that can get to opposing quarterbacks, with dynamic pass thrower Von Miller flying high and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald lurking inside. The pair helped Los Angeles finish the regular season with 50 sacks, ranking third, despite being in the middle of the pack under quarterback pressure.

In their only meeting this season, in Week 3, Brady was sacked three times in the Buccaneers’ 34-24 loss.

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians told reporters this week that Brady’s ability to get the ball out under pressure helps against a defense that’s so good at scoring the quarterback, but the Buccaneers can’t just count. on the short passing game.

“You still have to shoot the field,” Arians said. “It’s not all going to be dink and dunk.”

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