Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffer a devastating injury right in the middle of the defense
If there was a way for salt to be rubbed straight into the wound of Buccaneers fans following a gut-wrenching loss to the Bears, it happened Friday morning.
The Buccaneers suffered a 20-19 loss to the Chicago Bears Thursday evening at Soldier Field, but that wasn’t the worst news of the night: NT Vita Vea was carted off the field after suffering what looked like a brutal ankle injury.
ESPN Adam Schefter reported Friday morning that the Buccaneers fear that Vea had suffered a season-ending broken ankle and that the nose-tackle would undergo an MRI for confirmation.
Shortly after that tweet, The Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud confirmed that Vea had broken his ankle and would be out for the season.
Buccaneers now have a massive hole right in the middle of their defense
If the loss to the Bears wasn’t bad enough, losing Vea for the season is an even bigger blow.
Vea, in many respects, was the unsung hero of that Tampa Bay defense. He anchored the middle so well and had developed into one of the better nose-tackles in the league. He came away with his second sack of the season Thursday night and had totaled 10 tackles through the first four games.
Now, there’s a major hole in the defense and we’re going to have to see guys like Rakeem Nunez-Roches and rookie Khalil Davis step up and provide some semblance of production from that spot.
It’s not about racking up a bunch of stats, but it is about being a big anchor, getting pressure up the middle and stopping the run.
Vea did all of those things so well and that’s why this will be so much more of a devastating blow for the Bucs than what we may realize on the surface.