DETROIT — The rash of hamstring injuries sidelining Bucs wide receivers over the past two weeks is a trend coach Bruce Arians said he will have to look into after the team lost two more Sunday in a 38-17 victory over the Lions.
One week after losing Mike Evans to a hamstring injury, Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller left with the same injury and did not return. Afterward, Arians admitted that perhaps he’s been running his receivers too much.
“We’ll be talking with our sports science people about it,” Arians said. “Maybe I’ve overworked them in practice, the receivers, because we need the reps. Our quarterbacks need the reps, so we run them this time of the year more than I would probably like to, but we need the reps.”
Arians wasn’t able to offer many details on Godwin’s injury — perhaps more telling was the visible limp Godwin had leaving the Bucs locker room — but said “it doesn’t look good.”
Godwin, who had already recorded his sixth 100-yard receiving game of the season, seemed to be on pace for a 100-catch season. He ranks second in the league with 1,333 receiving yards on 86 catches. His nine touchdown catches are tied for second in the NFL.
The way all the receivers were injured is peculiar. All three occurred in free space running downfield. Godwin crumbled to the ground at the end of a deep route in the third quarter of Sunday’s game and was carted off the field. Miller aggravated his hamstring, an injury he dealt with earlier in the season, on his first-quarter touchdown catch, a play in which he was untouched. And Evans last week came up lame after skipping out of a diving sweep tackle at his feet on a 61-yard touchdown run.
Injuries to Godwin and Miller left the Bucs with just three healthy receivers Sunday: Breshad Perriman, Justin Watson and just-promoted Ishmael Hyman.
The team's new sports science department aims at getting peak performance from players while avoiding injuries. And key facet of that is constantly monitoring peak hydration to prevent cramps and muscle strains.
Receivers noted that they've run more those season in practice than previous seasons.
It hasn't just been receivers who have suffered from hamstring injuries. Its been among the most prevalent injury all season. Safety Jordan Whitehead left Sunday's game and didn't return from a hamstring injury, and outside linebacker Anthony Nelson hasn't played since Week 8 with a hamstring injury.
Suh gone, but not forgotten
Bucs defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, who spent his first five NFL seasons in Detroit after the Lions made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, heard chants of “Suuuuuuhhhhh” from the Ford Field crowd every time he was in on a play.
Suh logged a sack, a tackle for a loss and a two quarterback hits. His sack came at a critical moment, when the Lions were driving in the fourth quarter down by a score on a first-and-10 play at the Tampa Bay 32. That set up a second-and 13 on the next play, when cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting intercepted David Blough and returned it for a touchdown to make a two-score game again.
Even though it has been five years since Suh last wore a Lions uniform, he is clearly remembered. There was a smattering of Suh’s No. 90 Lions jerseys in the lower bowl.
Contact Eduardo A. Encina at email@example.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.