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Buccaneers Super Bowl hopes end with last-second loss to LA Rams 30-27

With penalties and minimal ball movement, Tampa Bay just couldn't get on the right track.

TAMPA, Fla — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a fourth-quarter run to tie the game but just couldn't top the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday's NFL Playoff Divisional Round loss, 30-27.

Right off the top of the game, the Rams held Tom Brady to zero completions through two drives -- a first in his 47th career postseason start.

And on the defensive side, the Buccaneers just couldn't put a stop the Matthew Stafford and his receiving duo, Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr.

During post-game interviews, the Buccaneers players all seemed to have the same mindset. The team did their best to stay in the game and put up a fight, but the Rams fought a little harder and made the right plays. 

"In the end, they just made one more play than us," Brady said.

The quarterback's future with the Bucs has also been circulating and reporters did not hold back asking Brady about his plans for next season.

"I haven't put a lot of thought into it," Brady said, following up with he's only been focused on Sunday's playoff game and as far as the future, he said he'll take it "day by day."

Head Coach Bruce Arians said it's a shame they didn't make another Super Bowl return, but he's still proud of his team.

"To lose it like that, it’s hard. The finality of this league is [difficult]," Arians said. "Now, that locker room of guys have been through hell and back this year and I love them. They have stuck together through all the injuries and everything else. Really, really proud of the comeback and not the finish, but I can’t say enough about all of them."

Entering into the match-up, the Buccaneers were already seeking revenge for the Sept. 26 loss where they fell short, 34-24, in week 3. But entering the weekend, the team was still battling injuries as the Bucs announced wide receivers Cyril Grayson Jr. and Breshad Perriman and offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs would not play against the Rams. 

Running back Leonard Fournette was, however, activated from Injured Reserve and the offensive star scored the first touchdown of Sunday's showdown during the third quarter.

Fournette said it was an emotional week leading up to Sunday's game after hearing the news of his cousin's death two days prior.

"I couldn't be happier playing with these guys and being by their side for this game," Fournette said during post-game interviews. "I'm proud of this group and I'm proud to call myself a Buccaneer."

Although the 2021 season did not end in another Super Bowl Championship, the Buccaneers still have a lot to celebrate. This season, the Bucs won the NFC South division for the first time since 2007. 

During the regular season, Brady finished the season with a career-high 5,316 yards passing. Wide receiver Mike Evans made NFL history to start a career with eight consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.

And outside linebacker Shaq Barrett reached a milestone not many can put in the record books. Barrett checked off a second season with 10-plus sacks. He joined three other former Bucs players with multiple double-digit sack seasons. Previous Bucs include Simeon Rice (5), Lee Roy Selmon (4) and Warren Sapp (3).

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