In a game where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers desperately need defensive back depth, the team lost cornerback Jamel Dean during Sunday’s 34-24 loss against Los Angeles Rams.
Dean injured his knee in the first half at Los Angeles and wouldn’t return, Buccaneers.com’s Scott Smith confirmed.
Dean had 13 tackles going into the game after a 62-tackle performance in 2020. He also had one interception last season.
Before Dean went down, he came close to an interception but dropped it. “That’s going to hurt every time he watches it,” noted Greg Auman of The Athletic.
The Bucs already had one starter out with cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting sidelined, and safety Jordan Whitehead just made his return to the field. Cornerback Carlton Davis III dealt with injury before the Atlanta game.
Cornerback Dee Delaney got the nod to step up for the Bucs with Dean out per Auman. Delaney had three tackles against Atlanta last week, and had four tackles against the Rams. Notably, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford went right after Delaney immediately following Dean’s injury, Auman wrote.
Stafford did damage all over against the Bucs secondary with 343 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 71% of hiss passes. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson had his way with 120 yards and a touchdown on three catches. Fellow wideout Cooper Kupp neared the 100-yard mark with 96, and he caught two touchdowns.
Tampa’s secondary didn’t have answers as the Rams scored on six consecutive drives after a scoreless first quarter. The Bucs defense forced a punt late in the game, but the Rams already had a 34-17 lead at that point.
Second-year safety Antoine Winfield Jr. led the Bucs secondary with six tackles. Whitehead and Carlton Davis III have three tackles apiece.
Pass defense has been the Achilles heel for the Bucs in three games this season, allowing 319 yards per contest.
Rob Gronkowski Gets a Scare
Tampa took another hit in the quarter when tight end Rob Gronkowski endured a “nasty hit from Terrell Lewis” per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. Gronkowski left the field to get checked before the Bucs cut the Rams’ lead to 21-14.
Gronkowski eventually returned to the game. He didn’t produced a typical Gronk day as he did the previous two weeks — four catches for 55 yards. His stat line popped the first two weeks with 12 receptions, 129 yards, and four touchdowns.
Bruce Arians’ Sideline Scare
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians had a close call late in the fourth quarter when running back Giovani Bernard collided with him on the sideline. Arians got knocked over after being hit in the knee, but he got back up quickly.
A long-time coach and former college quarterback, Arians is no stranger to the physicality of the game — even from the sidelines.
Running Game Walks The Plank
Tampa couldn’t get its running game going against the Rams and soon abandoned it altogether.
Running back Leonard Fournette got the start and mustered eight yards on four carries. Ronald Jones II didn’t fare much better with 11 yards on five carries. Brady ironically came up with the longest run of the day for the Bucs — a nine-yard game. He also led the team in rushing yards, 14, on three attempts.