Rams hold back Buccaneers in possible last home game

"Keep the Rams. Keep the Rams!"

The chant from the crowd in St. Louis resonated a lot more than any single play from the Rams31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.

The Rams closed out their 2015 home schedule in great fashion, showing off a style of play we expected to see a lot more this year. The question is whether they will ever play in St. Louis again, with a potential move to Los Angeles looming.

Tavon Austin was electric when he got the ball in open space. Aaron Donald burnished his Defensive Player of the Year credentials with a disruptive game. And the Rams' defense sent all sorts of pressure at Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in a mostly routine victory.

The win puts both the Rams and Bucs at 6-8 for the season, all but extinguishing Tampa's faint playoff hopes. It keeps alive Fisher's hope to avoid a losing record for the first time in four seasons with the Rams. But the events of the game almost felt secondary to the strange vibe surrounding it.

The "Keep the Rams!" chant occurred at various points throughout the game. It was sometimes followed by a chant disparaging Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has been attempting to move the team to Los Angeles.

"There's no telling what will happen, but the fans today were incredible," Rams quarterback Case Keenum said. "To show like they did ... it was a great atmosphere tonight."

Fisher also spoke highly of the game atmosphere after initially wondering if fans would show up for the game.

"We appreciate our fans," Fisher said. "I was a little concerned, you know, came out for warmups and thought most people were going to stay home and watch it. But, I mean, they came in. They must've been outside having a good time because they came in and it was great to see them. They saw a good ballgame."

The game was a reminder that the Rams have some intriguing building blocks, even if they seem stuck in a perpetual state of mediocrity. Donald had three quarterback hits and two tackles for loss, wreaking havoc on the Tampa offense in the first half as St. Louis built its lead. Rookie running back Todd Gurley didn't have a big game (79 yards from scrimmage), but Austin showed off his incredible moves with two more scores and 73 yards on seven touches.

The Bucs, meanwhile, couldn't crawl back from a 21-3 halftime deficit. Rookie of the Year candidate Jameis Winston struggled with pressure and inaccuracy early. Tampa moved the ball well after halftime, eventually topping 500 yards of offense, but the Bucs ran out of time to complete a potential comeback. Winston showed off some of the gutsy throws he's completed all year, but was not nearly consistent enough. Keenum wasn't asked to do much, but he hit a couple nice downfield throws and only had three incompletions.

On a night where many former champion Rams players were honored, this game was a reminder how forgettable the last decade of Rams football has been. Even the nice wins come with an asterisk. This team isn't going anywhere this season. We'll have to wait until January to find out if it's heading west this offseason.

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