Dome sweet dome: Rams scuttle Buccaneers in home finale of 2013 season

News-DemocratDecember 22, 2013 

— The St. Louis Rams reclaimed their dome-field advantage this season.

Defensive end Robert Quinn broke the franchise's single-season sack record and rookie wide receiver Stedman Bailey had a 27-yard touchdown run off a double reverse as the Rams beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-13 Sunday before 54,423 fans at the Edward Jones Dome.

The Rams (7-8) posted a 5-3 record at the Edward Jones Dome this season, their first winning record on their home turf since the 2010 season.

"It was important for them to have a winning record at home, which is a tremendous feat considering the circumstances and the start," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher, whose team lost three of its first five home games.

The Rams also matched their win total from last year even though they lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford to a season-ending knee injury in Week 7. They'll close out the season next Sunday at the Seattle Seahawks.

"It's about the team," Fisher said. "When Sam went down, we rallied. We rallied around (Kellen Clemens) and everybody picked things up."

The Rams sacked Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon seven times.

"Once we get a little lead, we turn those two war daddies (Quinn and Chris Long) loose off the outside, off the edges, and opposing quarterbacks are in trouble," Clemens said.

Quinn had three sacks, giving him 18 sacks on the season. That broke Kevin Carter's club record of 17 sacks in 1999.

"Very happy for him to get the record, very happy for our fans that he could get the record at home," Clemens said. "Very grateful that he is on our team because I would not want to go against him on Sundays."

The Rams also got a a 1-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Zac Stacy and three field goals from Greg Zuerlein.

Stacy rushed for 104 yards on 33 carries, moving him within 42 yards of the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

The game was a showcase of Fisher's formula for success.

"Run the football, play good defense and the other things happen," Fisher said. "They stem off those things. You play good defense, you rush the passer, you get off the field on third down and you run the football, good things happen."

The Buccaneers (4-11) went up 7-0 after an 11-play, 85-yard drive on their second possession.

The key play of the drive was a 30-yard pass from Glennon to Vincent Jackson that took the ball down to the St. Louis 3.

Three plays later, Bobby Rainey ran into the end zone from 1 yard out.

The Rams answered with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Stacy's 1-yard touchdown run with 13:48 left in the second quarter.

The Rams got the ball back at the Tampa Bay 27 when rookie Alec Ogletree stripped the ball out of Rainey's hands and William Hayes fell on it.

On the next play, Clemens handed off to Chris Givens on a reverse. Givens then flipped the ball to Bailey going the other direction.

Bailey ran 27 yards around the left side for his first NFL touchdown.

"It looked good in practice this week when we ran it a couple of times," Fisher said of the trick play. "The ballhandling was good, and we felt good about it."

Bailey said he knew he was going to score a touchdown as soon as he got the ball.

"As soon as I touched the ball and started to turn the corner, I saw that Kellen was out in front with two offensive line and Zac (Stacy) as well," Bailey said. "That's just like walking with four or five body guards all the way to the end zone. I knew it was going to work."

The Rams had a chance to stretch their lead, but Clemens fumbled on a quarterback draw on third-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 3.

The Buccaneers' Keith Tandy recovered the ball at the Tampa Bay 4.

The Buccaneers had first-and-goal at the St. Louis 9 late in the second quarter, but they had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Rian Lindell on the final play of the first half after back-to-back sacks by James Laurinaitis and Robert Quinn.

The Buccaneers drew within 14-13 on a 32-yard field goal by Lindell with 9:23 left in the third quarter, but Zuerlein booted a 54-yard field goal with 5:08 left in the third quarter to give the Rams a 17-13 lead.

Zuerlein added a 25-yard field goal with 11:15 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 48-yard field goal with 3:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Contact Steve Korte at skorte@bnd.com or 239-2522.

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