TAMPA — Turns out, the Bucs got out of Texas not only undefeated, but mostly unscathed.
The injuries sustained Sunday night by left tackle Donovan Smith and receiver Chris Godwin are not expected to keep the veterans out for an extended period, coach Todd Bowles indicated Monday afternoon.
Smith suffered a hyperextended elbow early in the second quarter of the Bucs’ 19-3 win against the Cowboys. Godwin, playing his first game since major surgery on his right knee last January, exited just before halftime with a hamstring strain. Neither player returned.
“I don’t think (Godwin’s injury) is that serious as we thought it was,” said Bowles, who watched Godwin dash 24 yards after catching a screen pass on the Bucs’ first offensive play. “But it all depends on how his treatment goes and how he heals. Hopefully we’ll have him back sooner than later.”
Smith, who has started 112 of the team’s 114 regular-season games since being drafted in the second round in 2015, conceivably could play Sunday afternoon at New Orleans, though his status probably won’t be determined until the weekend.
“It’s a pain-tolerance thing, so he’s pretty sore right now,” Bowles said. “We’ll monitor him during the week.”
When asked if Smith potentially could play through the injury Sunday, Bowles said, “We’ll see how he feels, yeah.”
Eighth-year veteran Josh Wells replaced Smith, allowing a sack to Dallas edge rusher Micah Parsons on the ensuing possession. The offensive line, which at that point featured only one returning starter from 2021 (right tackle Tristan Wirfs), issued no more sacks of Tom Brady the rest of the night as the team often employed max protection to keep Brady upright.
“Those guys up front are guys who are really new,” said tailback Leonard Fournette, who had his best rushing night in a Tampa Bay uniform (21 carries, 127 yards).
“It shows you that every player on our team has the ability to be a starter. I’m proud of those guys. They gave me the (NBC) ‘Sunday Night Football’ game ball, but I gave it to the (offensive) line. They did a great job, not just for me but blocking for Tom.”
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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