Playoff Lenny will make his much anticipated return on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round. The Buccaneers activated Leonard Fournette Saturday but in order to make room for him on the 53-man roster, they waived running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell contributed over the course of the last three weeks in the regular season, especially in the passing game, but didn’t see the field in the Wild Card win against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fournette, who hasn’t played since the week fifteen loss to the New Orleans Saints, was finally participating at full speed in practice this week after suffering a minor setback last week ahead of the Eagles game.
Fournette finished the regular season with 812 yards on 180 rushes while adding 454 yards on 69 receptions and ten total touchdowns. However, it was last season in the playoffs where Fournette became an absolute force for the Bucs.
During their Super Bowl run, Fournette had 300 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while contributing 148 yards and another touchdown through the passing game. The moniker “Playoff Lenny” was born and the Bucs never looked back.
With the Rams’ vaunted pass rush coming to Raymond James, utilizing the running and quick passing game will be vital to the Bucs’ success. Leonard Fournette improves both of those aspects of the Buccaneers offense. Not only that, but the Buccaneers are 8-1 this season when rushing for over 100 yards as a team - the lone loss coming in that Sunday night game against the Saints when Fournette was injured.
In addition to activating Fournette and waiving Bell, the Buccaneers elevated newly acquired wide receiver John Brown from the practice squad to the game day roster. Brown can also help that short, quick passing game and allow his speed to make plays through the second and third levels of the defense. Though he hasn’t played a snap in a regular season game since November with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brown still offers a wrinkle for the Buccaneers that the Rams haven’t seen yet.
The Bucs and Rams will kickoff at 3:00 p.m. ET inside Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on NBC with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michelle Tafoya on the call.