There seems to be a cosmic cloud hanging over the 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One determined to rain on the team’s 2022 boat parade before they even get a chance at having it.
Week 1, the Buccaneers lost cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting to injury. Following Week 2, it was discovered outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a shoulder injury and wide receiver Antonio Brown went into COVID-19 protocols. Then in Week 3, Jamel Dean went down with a knee injury, and Rob Gronkowski was lost due to a rib injury. Last week against the Patriots, it was Carlton Davis III.
And those aren’t the only players struggling with injuries, just perhaps the most impactful. Don’t forget the team also lost wide receiver, Scotty Miller.
Week 5 saw another key Bucs player go down to injury, and (spoiler alert), it’s easily the worst part of the week.
Before we get there, let’s get to the rest of the best and worst, from Week 5.
THIRD WORST: EARLY GAME DEFENSE
Injuries explain some of the struggles we’ve seen at times from the Buccaneers' defense, but they don’t excuse them necessarily.
On their first two offensive drives of the game, the Miami Dolphins drove down the field on back-to-back eight-play drives and scored ten points in the process.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers offense also scored ten points in response, but if they hadn’t had an equally strong start to the game, it could have been an early two-score deficit against backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
THIRD BEST: TOM BRADY’S CAREER DAY
You know it was a good day when quarterback Tom Brady setting a career mark is the third-best, and a good day for the offense, it was.
There’s not a lot of things Brady hasn’t done in his legendary career, but until this past Sunday, he had never thrown for more than 400-yards and at least five touchdowns in a single game.
411-yards and five touchdowns later, he’s done so. Now it’s time to aim for 500 and six.
SECOND WORST: DEFENDING THE BACKFIELD
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but an opposing running back gashed the Bucs defense as a receiver out of the backfield.
Yeah, we’ve seen this dance and heard this song, and it may even be nitpicking at the moment, but Myles Gaskin catching ten of ten targets for 74-yards and two touchdowns has every offensive coordinator looking for their favorite receiving back when they get set to face the Bucs.
SECOND BEST: FINDING RB1
Ahead of the season, James Yarcho and I stated on the Locked On Bucs Podcast we felt Ronald Jones II would prove himself to be the top running back of the group.
Never say we aren’t willing to accept being wrong.
Leonard Fournette only appears to be getting better each week, and after averaging 5.58 yards per carry on Sunday, he’s the clear-cut number one back in Tampa Bay.
He also came up with four catches for 43-yards, and finally, Brady seems to have found his receiving back, in Florida.
THE WORST: ANOTHER INJURY
Does anybody still think drafting Devin White was a wasted pick? Well, if you did, you’re going to change your tune when you realize Lavonte David not only left Week 5, but is going to miss Week 6.
#Bucs LB Lavonte David suffered a low-ankle sprain in Sunday’s win and is expected to miss some time, source said. That means he’s out Thursday and week-to-week after that.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
THE BEST: AB’S BOOMIN SUNDAY
Antonio Brown’s career would be much more celebrated if it wasn’t for his locker room - and more importantly - his off-the-field issues.
That being said, Brown became the fastest wide receiver to reach 900 receptions on Sunday, reaching the milestone in just 143 games.
Previously, Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts held the record, reaching 900 catches in 149.
Harrison finished his career after 13 seasons of play with 1,102 receptions, 14,580 yards, and 128 touchdown catches.
Brown is currently playing his 12th NFL season, and now has 906 catches, 12,071 yards, and 82 touchdowns.
Will the extra game this year and next help Brown catch up to some of Harrison’s other career totals? Only time will tell. Until then, he and his quarterback are having a lot of fun making the most of their time together.