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Bucs’ ailments keep mounting with adversity

Defensive tackle Vita Vea is carted off the field with an apparent knee injury in the waning moments.
Washington receiver DeAndre Carter (1) catches the ball for a touchdown against Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney (30) during the first half Sunday. Delaney exited in the third quarter with a concussion.
Washington receiver DeAndre Carter (1) catches the ball for a touchdown against Bucs cornerback Dee Delaney (30) during the first half Sunday. Delaney exited in the third quarter with a concussion. [ TERRANCE WILLIAMS | Associated Press ]
Published Nov. 14, 2021

Fate wouldn’t permit the Bucs to exit FedEx Field pondering their litany of penalties, passing-game miscues and porous third-down defense.

It had to add injury to the succession of insults.

Defensive tackle Vita Vea was carted off the field after sustaining an apparent knee injury on Washington tailback Antonio Gibson’s game-sealing touchdown run with 29 seconds to play. Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Vea, who missed the last 11 regular-season games in 2020 with a fractured ankle, “felt something in his knee” but could offer no further specifics.

“Man, praying for the best for him,” linebacker Devin White said. “The guy did a lot this offseason to get himself ready to go. ... You just hate to see him keep going down, a guy who does everything right, a guy who gives it his all every time he’s out there, but it’s the nature of the game as well.”

Additionally, the Bucs’ cornerback misfortune kept mounting when veteran Richard Sherman pulled his calf before the game and couldn’t play. He was joined on the sideline in the third quarter by Dee Delaney, who suffered a concussion.

“But that’s no excuse,” said Arians, whose team let Washington go 11-of-19 on third down. “Whoever’s out there, you’ve got to get off the field.”

Milestone amid the mess

Bucs receiver Mike Evans (13) recorded the 70th touchdown catch of his career (and 71st TD overall) with this 40-yard scoring play in the fourth quarter Sunday.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans (13) recorded the 70th touchdown catch of his career (and 71st TD overall) with this 40-yard scoring play in the fourth quarter Sunday. [ NICK WASS | Associated Press ]

Mike Evans’ 40-yard scoring catch in the fourth quarter was the 71st touchdown of his career, tying fullback Mike Alstott for the franchise record. Evans’ 70 touchdown receptions (he recovered a Jameis Winston fumble in the end zone for a TD in 2018) are tied for 48th most in NFL history.

“I was excited because it got us back in the game, brought the game within one score,” Evans said.

Washington, of course, answered with its 19-play, 80-yard scoring march that consumed 10:26, the NFL’s longest drive this season.

Road swoon resumes

The reigning Super Bowl champs are a losing team away from Raymond James Stadium.

The Bucs fell to 2-3 on the road with Sunday’s defeat, their second straight road loss. They still have failed to score 30 points in an away game this season (while averaging 40.5 at RayJay) and are averaging 75.4 penalty yards in those five contests.

“I can’t really put my finger on it,” inside linebacker Lavonte David said. “I guess the other teams just played better, especially today. We came out flat and they made more plays than we did, and we didn’t play our best brand of football.”

By the numbers

0 Sacks by Devin White in the Bucs’ first eight games.

2 Sacks by White on Sunday.

3 Sacks this season for Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, who sacked Taylor Heinicke late in the first quarter. Tryon-Shoyinka is the first Bucs linebacker with at least three sacks in his rookie season since Kwon Alexander (3.0 in 2016).

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5 Catches by Bucs tight ends in the last two contests.

8 Receptions by tailback Leonard Fournette, prime beneficiary of Tom Brady’s checkdowns Sunday.

9 Combined receptions by Evans (two) and Chris Godwin (seven).

30 Career touchdown catches by tight end Cameron Brate, who had a 6-yarder from Brady (his first of the season) in the third quarter.

30.0 Brady’s quarterback rating in the first half (11-of-20, 104 yards, two INTs, no TDs).

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