Bucs may have lost more than a game to the 49ers, as injuries mount

Starting cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean, and linebacker Lavonte David do not finish the game.
49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) catches a touchdown pass against Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean (35) during the second half Sunday.
49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) catches a touchdown pass against Bucs cornerback Jamel Dean (35) during the second half Sunday. [ JOSIE LEPE | AP ]
Published Nov. 20|Updated Nov. 20

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The box score may show that Jamel Dean was beaten for a 76-yard touchdown by 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

But the early third-quarter play in the Bucs’ 27-14 loss Sunday could prove to be more costly than seven points. Dean remained on the turf at Levi’s Stadium after suffering what was described as an ankle/foot injury. He had to be carted to the locker room.

A little later, cornerback Carlton Davis suffered a hip injury and did not return. Same with linebacker Lavonte David, who left in the second half with a groin injury.

The Bucs also got a scare when left tackle Tristan Wirfs injured his ankle after being stepped on, but he did return.

Head coach Todd Bowles had no updates on the injuries immediately following the game.

“Nothing at this point,” he said. “They’re getting evaluated right now, so we’ll find out more later on.”

The Bucs finished with rookies Kaevon Merriweather, Josh Hayes and SirVocea Dennis playing significant snaps on defense.

Diaby shines brightest

Rookie outside linebacker YaYa Diaby is playing his way into a significant role on defense. Sunday, the former Louisville star recorded two of the Bucs’ four sacks and had three tackles for loss.

Diaby is now tied for second among NFL rookies with four sacks and seven tackles for loss. Defensive tackle Vita Vea leads the Bucs with 5½ sacks this season.

“I think Joe (Tryon-Shoyinka) started the ballgame, but YaYa comes in early,” Bowles said. “He plays a lot. We play all those guys a lot, and they rotate depending on what we see. Obviously, he’s a very good football player and he’s coming along like gangbusters.

“It’s hard to keep him off the field. He’s getting more and more time. Last week he had more time, just as much time as everybody. I don’t know the numbers this week, but we really like the player.”

Diaby said his confidence is growing with each game. “I was doing whatever I can to help the team out and help the offense out by doing my part,” he said.

“That was our game plan, get (49ers quarterback Brock Purdy) off his rhythm and get to him and hit him early. We were able to do that, and he was able to make some plays.”

Will Diaby eventually replace Tryon-Shoyinka in the starting lineup? “I can only control what I can,” he said. “When my number is called, I do what I can to help the team out.”

Milestone for David

David surpassed Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Ronde Barber with career tackle No. 1,429. He now has 1,436, second only to Derrick Brooks (2,198) in Bucs history.

David’s milestone came on an 11-yard sack of Purdy on the Niners’ opening drive. It was his third sack of the season and upped his career total to 32. The three sacks are David’s most in a season since he had 3½ in 2018.

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He finished the game with seven tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss.

Bucs bits: Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. led the Bucs with a career-high 16 tackles, most by a defensive back in a game in team history.

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