NFL football this year has had some less than stellar games presented to empty stadiums where everyone and everything was feeling a bit tentative, likely due to the ever worsening COVID-19 pandemic.  But not anymore.  Monday Night provided football fans with some hard hitting, let it all hang out, pro football action that attracted us to the sport in the first place.

As news of an effective vaccine spreads and the NFL playoffs are now looming on the horizon, attitudes are changing and inching back towards a more ‘normal’ state of affairs.

The Bucs Fall To The Rams

This Monday saw to Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback and a guy who, no so long ago was admiring Tom Brady’s play on TV, go head to head in a battle that racked up 51 total points, making over bettors happy, with the action coming down to a 40 yard field goal by newly acquired place kicker Matt Gay for the Rams to kick the winning field goal with just 2:36 remaining in the game, which gave LA a sweet 27-24 victory.

The game went off with Tampa Bay as 4-point favorites and sports books across the nation fared well riding on the tide of bettors that still just bet on Brady, no matter in what uniform.

It could be expected that Jared Goff might be a little nervous going up against one of the greatest quarterbacks of our time and one bound for Canton and the Hall of Fame, but it never showed in his play.  Goff threw for a total of 376 yards against the Tampa Bay defense, completing 39 of 51 passes for 3 touchdowns.

Brady only had two TDs and they each managed to throw 2 picks apiece.  Actually, the Rams defense kept Brady under pressure all evening and limited his effectiveness considerably.  Still in all, he completed 26 of 48 passes for 216 yards, below his average, but respectable.  Brady was intercepted twice by the Rams Jordan Fuller.

The Rams Charge Forward

The Rams did an effective job stopping the Tampa Bay running game as the usually productive duo of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette were held to just 41 total yards for the pair.  Fournette had one touchdown, the only rushing touchdown of the entire game.

This was an air show put on by one Super Bowl Champion quarterback and one with a bright future ahead of him in the NFL.  Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were Goff’s main targets on Monday Night prime time TV.  Kupp had 11 catches for 145 yards and was outstanding all night long while Robert Woods was also on his game with 10 catches for 130 yards.

The Rams are back in first place in the NFC West and hope to hold on to that spot to make the playoffs.  The Buccaneers now fall to second place in the NFC South behind the 8-2 New Orleans Saints, who have defeated Brady and the Bucs in their two meetings already this season.

Monday Night Football Makes History

As was noted by the commentators, Monday Night was a bit historic in that, for the first time in NFL history, the game was officiated by an all-black crew.  So smooth was that pulled off that few would have even noticed if the announcers had not spoken about it, as the officiating crew was as professional as any group of refs who have worked an NFL game this year.  But no doubt the occasion had important historical significance.

Heartfelt congratulations go out to head referee Jerome Boger, umpire Barry Anderson, down judge Julian Mapp, line judge Carl Johnson, field judge Dale Shaw, side judge Anthony Jeffries and back judge Greg Steed, who, combined together have worked 89 NFL seasons, including six Super Bowls.