The Rams were undefeated entering Sunday’s Week 4 matchup and were a 9.5-point favorite over the 1-2 Bucs. But they fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter and were unable to come from behind in a 55-40 loss that dropped them to 3-1 on the season.
The Rams became the biggest home favorite to lose a game since Week 15 last season, when they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles as a 13.5-point favorite. The loss also snapped the Rams’ streak of covering six consecutive games as a favorite, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
“We’re so used to winning, you know everybody expects us to win,” Brockers said. “So, coming from a game like that … you’ve got to sit down, gather yourself.”
Last season, the Rams started 8-0 before they finished 13-3 and won a second consecutive division title, an NFC championship and made an appearance in Super Bowl LIII.
Rams coach Sean McVay called Sunday’s loss “a wake-up call for everybody.”
“Ultimately, it’s about finding a way to win football games,” said McVay, who is 27-9 since he was named coach in 2017. “We didn’t do that.”
The Rams performed poorly on defense and, for a fourth consecutive game, were slow to start on offense.
After holding quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns to 13 points in a Week 3 victory, which included a game-saving goal-line stand, the Rams defense allowed quarterback Jameis Winston to pass for 385 yards and four touchdowns, with an interception.
Outside of a pair of early sacks, the Rams’ defensive front, which features two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, was unable to disrupt Winston. The secondary, which had previously allowed only one passing play of 30 yards this season, watched as receiver Mike Evans caught a 67-yard touchdown pass.
“We didn’t have that energy, I mean we felt it,” safety John Johnson said. “I know I can speak for the DBs, we felt — you know we didn’t have that energy how we usually do.”
Rams quarterback Jared Goff recorded career highs in attempts, completions and passing yards, finishing 45-of-68 for 517 yards and two touchdowns, with three interceptions. He became only the 23rd quarterback to pass for more than 500 yards in a game, and the first since Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII.
But Goff’s turnovers, including a strip sack in the fourth quarter, were costly. So was the Rams’ inability to establish the run. Running back Todd Gurley rushed for 16 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.
On Monday, Goff remained positive about the team’s outlook.
“I think it’s just going to be good for us to look back on as something that we’ll learn from,” said Goff, who has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions this season. “I think it’s something that created a little more urgency with everyone.”
The Rams must regroup on a short week before they open division play Thursday night against the 3-1 Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The Rams swept the Seahawks, and the NFC West, last season. They are 3-1 against the Seahawks in McVay’s two seasons as coach.
“A lot of things that we’ve got to look at and get figured out, get fixed,” McVay said. “The only thing that we can look at as a blessing is that we get a chance to do that on a short week.”
Brockers said Sunday’s loss provided a reminder.
“We always expect to win,” he said. “But when you have a game like that you just got to look back and say, ‘OK, this league is hard to win in.’ You have to bring your hard hat every game.”