One player the Bucs can ill afford to lose is Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin, which is why it put a scare over their sideline when he went down with a left shoulder injury early in the third quarter and did not return.
But Martin, wearing a sling around his arm after the game, appeared optimistic about it, saying preliminary x-rays looked good and it's not a separation. It's unclear whether Martin can return by Thursday's game against the Panthers.
"It feels alright right now," Martin said. "I'm pretty sure tommorrow it'll feel better." He paused, and smiled, "Maybe not. I hope for the best."
Martin got hurt in an awkward landing following his attempt on a leaping catch during a wheel route near the goalline. "I landed on the elbow and all the pressure went to my shoulder," Martin said. "It's unfortunate. We'll do our best to get it evaluated and rehab it as quickly as we can."
The Bucs lost another All-Pro in the first half, as safety Dashon Goldson suffered a left knee injury when he said he was cut by a Falcons receiver on the second play of the game. He was walking around gingerly in the lockeroom post-game with a big ice bag over his knee.
"I've never had a knee (injury) before, but I know it didn't feel right," Goldson said. "I tried to play a couple more plays, but I just couldn't. It wasn't the same."
Goldson went back into the lockerroom temporarily, saying the trainers taped him up, and tried to return, but it didn't help much. said they still haven't done x-rays yet. HeAs for his availability Thursday?
"We'll see," Goldson said. "I'm hoping for a miracle."