Buccaneers lose 3 key defensive starters in loss to 49ers

Adding insult to injury, the Bucs might be without three key defensive starters after Week 11’s loss.
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Following a much-needed win over Tennessee in Week 10, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked to win consecutive games for the second time this season with a meeting against San Fransisco on Sunday.

As expected, though, the 49ers torched the Buccaneers 27-14 while dominating all three facets of Sunday's game.

Led by a perfect performance by Brock Purdy, the skill of Brandon Aiyuk, and the dual threat play of Christian McCaffery, the Niners offense was phenomenal once again. Against Tampa Bay, San Francisco managed to 420 yards and a whopping 22 first downs — the team’s fourth game with 400 or more yards and 20+ first downs this season.

Despite of being sacked four times, Purdy remained cool and collected against the Bucs defense, completing 21-of-25 pass attempts for 333 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions for a perfect 158.3 QB rating.

Per usual, Aiyuk was Purdy's top receiving target, catching five passes for a season-high 156 yards and a touchdown. Sunday marked Aiyuk's fourth 100-plus yard game this season, just a season after only having one such game.

Once again, the Bucs defense helping an offensive player look phenomenal.

Meanwhile, McCaffery has another solid performance on the ground, turning 21 carries into 78 rushing yards. In addition, McCaffery caught all five of his targets from Purdy for 21 receiving yards, including a four-yard touchdown catch to give San Fransisco the first points of the game.

Although San Fransisco's offense has been among the NFL's best all-season, the 49ers only held a 13-7 lead at halftime. In the second half, however, the 49ers used two back-to-back touchdown drives to seal the double-digit win.

In their first offensive drive, Purdy managed to hit Aiyuk on a dazzling 76-yard catch and run down the left sideline that made Levi's Stadium erupt in cheers.

During that play, Buccaneers' top cornerback Jamel Dean suffered an ankle injury that required him to be carted to the locker room. After Aiyuk beat Dean off the line of scrimmage, the corner tried to even himself with Aiyuk down the sideline before Purdy launched the football. As Aiyuk went up for the football, Dean jumped to deflect the pass — or something — and landed awkwardly on his back and ankle, and remained down on the field for the rest of the play.

Later in the third quarter, Lavonte David and Carlton Davis also suffered injuries that would force them both out of the game. According to head coach Todd Bowles, David suffered a hip injury and Davis had a groin injury. All three players are scheduled to get MRIs to determine the severity of the injury.

Due to the injuries to Dean, David, and Davis, rookies SirVocea Dennis, Kaevon Merriweather, and Josh Hayes all played significant snaps on defense, and their lack of game experience showed in critical moments. With a meeting against Indianapolis in week twelve looming, getting items trio of top defenders back will be crucial for Tampa Bay to keep their season alive.

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