The St. Louis Rams lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-3 at halftime in Florida, and it’s happened exactly as it was expected to happen—the Buccaneers’ notoriously bad run-defense has been completely unable to stop Steven Jackson, whose 12 carries for 74 yards pushed him past Eric Dickerson’s team rushing record without incident. Jackson’s 100 all-purpose yards through the first half put him on pace for one of his best games of the season.
He hasn’t been the only running back the Buccaneers have been unable to stop—Kenneth Darby has made crucial contributions on each of the Rams’ touchdown drives, and Danny Amendola’s first carry of the season was a 21-yard play that pushed them deep into Buccaneers territory.
While the rushing game has hit season-highs, Sam Bradford has struggled as much as a quarterback with two touchdowns and no interceptions can struggle. He’s just 6-for-14 with 70 yards passing, much of them coming on dump-off passes to running backs and tight ends.
The Buccaneers have been victimized by penalties, including one that led directly to the Rams’ second touchdown. With four minutes left in the second quarter, the Rams found themselves on fourth-and-four at the Buccaneers 14. Josh Brown came in and kicked a 32-yard field goal, but the play was nullified when Ronde Barber was caught offside. In the resulting first-and-goal situation Kenneth Darby ran to the Buccaneers’ two, and a short pass from Bradford to rookie tight end Michael Hoomanawanui pushed the score to 17-3.
Through one half the Buccaneers have committed six penalties for 44 yards, which is more than they’ve managed passing or running the ball.