(Sports Network) - It wasn't all that long ago that people were talking playoffs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the same sentence.
Well, that talk seems like a lifetime ago, as the Bucs look to snap a four- game losing streak on Sunday when they host the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay's playoff hopes were officially dashed this past week, as they were dismantled by the New Orleans Saints, 41-0, at the Superdome.
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman struggled, completing 26-of-47 passes for 279 yards, four interceptions and a lost fumble, while Doug Martin, who was second in the league in yards from scrimmage entering the game, picked up just 35 yards combined.
"I didn't get this team ready to go today for whatever that reason is," said Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano. "They fought their guts out. It's just that I didn't do a good job of getting ready and we didn't play well."
It marked the first time that Tampa Bay was blanked since a 24-0 shellacking at the hands of the New York Giants in 2009. It also harkened memories of a year ago when the Bucs dropped their final 10 games of the season.
"Well, I think our team is disappointed in what we did (Sunday)," Schiano said. "We go out and throw our first clunker. We've been together now for 11 months and we threw a clunker. Now, the sky is not falling."
To make mattes worse there was a sideline spat between assistant Bryan Cox and linebacker Adam Hayward. Additionally, a report surfaced on profootballtalk.com quoting an anonymous player asking, "Can we send these coaches back to college?"
As for the Cox-Hayward feud, Schiano said, "That is a heat of the moment deal that's behind us. We are moving forward. It is kind of like in your own family. It is never perfect, right? You really don't need everybody to see it on (TV). That is not the best thing either, but it is behind us."
St. Louis, meanwhile, has made great strides under first year head coach Jeff Fisher, but saw its three-game win streak come to an end this past Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings in a 34-22 loss.
Sam Bradford threw for a career-best 377 yards and three touchdowns on 35- of-55 passing, while Stephen Jackson ran for 73 yards on 13 carries and became the 27th player in NFL history to reach the 10,000 rushing yard plateau.
However, it was another running back who stole the show against St. Louis.
After having not allowed an opposing running back to gain more than 65 yards in four straight games, the Rams allowed Minnesota's Adrian Peterson to rush for 212 yards.
"He's really good," coach Jeff Fisher said. "You can never relax. Every time he touches the ball he's got a chance to go. Now yes, we played a lot of good, solid defensive snaps, but we had two that were not good."
At 6-7-1, the Rams are mathematically still alive for a postseason berth, but would need an awful lot of things to fall their way the final two weeks of the season.
"I really don't think about the postseason," defensive end Chris Long said. "I always said I'll worry about that when it gets here and it will get here for this group eventually but evidently this year is not the year for the postseason."
The Rams lead the all-time series, 9-8, but the Bucs have walked away with a win in six of the last seven meetings. Tampa has also won all four matchups at home in this series since the Rams moved to St. Louis and have a five-game home win streak against the franchise.