Greg Zuerlein kicked a 38-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to lift the injury-riddled St. Louis Rams to a 19-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Austin Davis, who began the season No. 3 on the Rams depth chart, made his first career start and completed 22-of-29 passes for 235 yards. The former walk-on at Southern Miss led a 12-play drive in the final minutes that led to Zuerlein's game-winning kick. Davis made a number of impressive throws on the drive, none bigger than his 27-yard toss to Austin Pettis on third down.
Tampa Bay got the ball back with 38 seconds and quickly moved down the field. Josh McCown completed a 19-yard pass underneath to Bobby Rainey, then went up top to rookie Mike Evans for 29 yards. Out of timeouts, the Bucs hurried to the line of scrimmage, but with eight seconds left, Evans was unable to walk off the field on his own power after taking a crushing blow following his catch. According to league rules, there was a 10 second runoff and the game was over.
McCown threw for 179 yards and an interception while adding two rushing scores on his only two carries for Tampa Bay (0-2), which started 0-2 for the second straight season. Rainey started in place of an injured Doug Martin and ran 22 times for 144 yards.
"It's unfortunate we didn't handle the situation as well as we needed to there at the end," Bucs head coach Lovie Smith said.
Zuerlein went 4-for-4 on field goals for the Rams (1-1), who bounced back after getting blown out in Week 1 by the Vikings.
Davis became the first Rams quarterback to win his first career start since Scott Covington on Dec. 30, 2002.
"I felt a peace out there. I felt at home, and it had a lot to do with the guys I was around and how well we played," Davis said.
Tampa Bay took the opening kickoff and looked like a well-oiled machine on its first drive, marching 77 yards for a score. Rainey carried five times for 26 yards and McCown put the finishing touches on the 10-play drive with a short touchdown run.
The Rams responded with a touchdown drive of their own. Consecutive receptions by Brian Quick for 14 and 16 yards and an 18-yard carry by Tavon Austin led to Zac Stacy's 2-yard touchdown carry.
McCown led another extended drive, leading the Bucs inside the Rams 10 before his pass intended for Vincent Jackson was picked off by Rodney McLeod, ending the scoring threat.
Then came the lightning. Storms in the area caused a prolonged delay in the game. When it finally returned, Zuerlein kicked a 36-yard field goal to send the Rams into halftime with a 10-7 lead.
The Bucs set up at their own 40 following Stacy's fumble on the first drive of the second half. McCown completed three passes to Jackson for 44 yards on the drive and ran it in from a yard out to make it 14-10.
The Rams took more than 6 1/2 minutes off the clock on their next touch, which ended in a 35-yard field goal by Zuerlein.
Zuerlein kicked another field goal -- this time from 46 yards out -- early in the fourth quarter to put the Rams in front. Tampa came back and moved into scoring position thanks to Rainey's 31-yard scamper, and Patrick Murray made it 17-16 with his 36-yard kick. Murray had a field goal blocked by E.J. Gaines earlier in the half.
Davis completed passes to eight different receivers ... McCown's last game with two rushing touchdowns came in Week 15, 2004, as a member of the Cardinals ... Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left the game with a hand injury ... This was Rainey's third career game rushing for 100-plus yards ... Hall-of-Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor at halftime.