COMMENTARY | After a rocky first half, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have figured out what it takes to win. With their last victory, they join the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals as the only teams to win three straight after losing the first eight games of the season.
Those victories have come with a price, however. In each game Tampa Bay has won, they've lost a starter to injury. First, it was rookie running back Mike James. Then, linebacker Mason Foster suffered a concussion. Tampa Bay's depth has done well to make up for recent losses, but depth only goes so far.
Now, they may be without cornerback Darrelle Revis, arguably the best shutdown corner in the league. He left Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions right before halftime, with what doctors described as a groin injury. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said that the cornerback would have a MRI on Monday, but the team hasn't released any updated information.
The fact that the test results still haven't been shared with the public, leads me to believe that the injury is serious, and possibly, season-ending. The recovery from a groin injury takes anywhere between 2-10 weeks, depending on the extent of the strain. At minimum, the Buccaneers figure to be without their top corner for the next two games -- Carolina and Buffalo.
With a key division game against the Panthers this Sunday, Tampa Bay could be keeping Revis' test results secret as a way to keep Carolina in the dark about his status. Veteran receiver Steve Smith would benefit the most if Revis is unable to play,
Rookie Johnthan Banks -- who's battling injuries of his own -- took over for Revis in the second half against Calvin Johnson, and surprisingly had some success with the receiver. At 6-foot-2, Banks has the size to match up with any receiver in the league, and lately, he's shown the physicality and ball instincts Tampa Bay expected him to develop when they drafted him 43rd overall in April's draft. He isn't without his faults, but after Revis, he's the most consistent cornerback left on the roster.
Tampa Bay is on an improbable three-game winning streak, despite suffering many injuries over the course of the season. They'll go for four in a row Week 13 against the surging Panthers, winners of seven straight. And, in all likelihood, they'll be without Darrelle Revis. Can they pull off another win, or will the loss of their top corner be too much to overcome?
James LoPresti lives in Tampa and has a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. He has eight years experience working in print media with the Tampa Tribune, and you can follow him on Twitter @JLoPresti3114.
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