Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin, Robert Ayers among key Bucs injuries

GLENDALE, Ariz. — One way Sunday's Bucs loss at the Cardinals could carry over to this week's home opener against the Rams is on the injury front. Four players were knocked out of the game, most notably RB Doug Martin and DE Robert Ayers.

Ayers, who had been limited in practice by an ankle injury last week, had a boot on his left foot in the locker room and declined to take questions. Martin, who left early in the second quarter, said his hamstring would be evaluated today, and he didn't know how long he would be sidelined.

"Of course," coach Dirk Koetter said when asked if Martin's absence impacted the game. "It takes out one of the best running backs in the league. We had multiple guys. … No one feels sorry for you, but you've got to keep playing."

The team also lost starting TE Luke Stocker to an ankle injury and WR Cecil Shorts to a hamstring injury on his first catch with the team.

ZERO TACKLES: Before Sunday, LB Lavonte David had played 63 games for Tampa Bay and had at least five tackles in every game but one (two against Minnesota as a rookie in 2012).

But he didn't have any tackles in Sunday's loss. He was credited with two QB hits but no solo or assisted tackles.

"It starts with me," David said. "I've got to be more vocal, make sure everybody's on point and stays the course during the game. … Whenever your name is called, you've got to make plays. It's a man-on-man game. Is he going to win or are you going to win? (Sunday), obviously, it wasn't us."

INEFFICIENT: A week after the Bucs threw only one pass at top WR Mike Evans against Atlanta in the first half, Tampa Bay targeted him heavily Sunday. He finished with six catches for 70 yards and the Bucs' only touchdown, but that came on 17 targets, a low catch percentage of 35.3.

Also well-covered by Arizona's secondary was Vincent Jackson, who had four catches for 44 yards on nine targets. Those two had 10 catches on 26 targets, while the rest of the team had 17 catches on 24 targets.

BUCS DEBUT: The team's leading rusher wasn't Martin (23 yards, seven carries) or Charles Sims (24 yards, nine carries) but newcomer Jacquizz Rodgers (29 yards, two carries), who was signed to the team last week.

"It felt good to get out there. I wish we had a better outcome," Rodgers said. "It helped me to get some live action. Live bullets is way different than practice. I'm pretty sure there are things I need to clean up, but it's something I can grow from."

THIS AND THAT: Rookie Roberto Aguayo, who didn't miss a kick in Week 1, missed a 45-yard field goal wide left, his first miss in the NFL. … Rookie DE Noah Spence had his first career sack, the only sack the team had. "It's a blessing, but we didn't get the win, so it doesn't really mean anything," he said. … Jameis Winston's 52 pass attempts were a career high, surpassing the 50 he had in a loss to the Rams last season.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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