Rams brace for challenge of facing Tom Brady and Buccaneers


The Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl credentials will get an early test on Sunday in a showdown against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneer as the two unbeaten championship contenders clash in Los Angeles.

The Rams have made a solid start to a season they hope ends with a Super Bowl appearance at their home stadium next February, blasting aside the Chicago Bears in their season opener before grinding out a win over the Indianapolis Colts last week.

The arrival of quarterback Matthew Stafford during the offseason has breathed new life into the Rams’ offense, while the Aaron Donald-led defense finished last year as the best in the league.

Yet all that will count for little on Sunday as Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champions take the field at SoFi Stadium brimming with confidence after averaging nearly 40 points a game in wins over Dallas and Atlanta.

The 44-year-old Brady’s early season form has already led to talk of a potential MVP-caliber season. Brady has amassed 655 passing yards in two games and thrown nine touchdowns, including five against the Falcons.

“Scared to death,” is how Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris jokingly described how he felt about facing Brady, who will be playing in Los Angeles for the first time in his 21-year NFL career.

“Tom is the ultimate competitor. He has the ultimate game,” Morris added.

“He’s one of the guys that’s earned respect in this league, and we got nothing but respect for Tom and what he’s been able to do at both places he’s been at. Tom knows exactly what he wants to do with the ball, and that’s the key. He demands it from his other guys around him. He’s got that kind of way about him.”

Stafford, who has put up decent numbers himself, with 599 yards and five touchdowns, believes Brady is playing as well as ever.

“The guy throws it about as good as anybody in the league still,” Stafford said. “I mean, coming out of the hand, he throws it great. He’s mechanically as sound as anybody. He’s on time — great anticipation, ball placement.

“I’ve got a ton of respect for what he’s done in the past and shoot, what he’s doing right now. He’s playing great football – about as good as I’ve ever seen him play.”

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