The Buccaneers weekly stock report is back following Tampa Bay's narrow victory over the New England Patriots.
There aren't many individual players who saw their stocks drop significantly for poor play, even though it was far from a perfect game for the Buccaneers. Instead, injuries are playing a massive role in Tampa Bay having yet to play a complete game, and as such, injuries make up a large portion of our stock down section.
The Bucs also saw strong play from a couple of players that were in need of a big performance. You can find both sides - stock up and stock down - highlighted below
Leonard Fournette: As we noted in our takeaways from the game, the Buccaneers finally made the ground game work in Week 4. Leonard Fournette is a large reason why.
Fournette posted his third-best rushing performance in a game since joining the Buccaneers at the beginning of the 2020 season, with 91 yards on 20 carries. He added three receptions for 47 yards as well, finishing the game with six yards per touch. Fournette accounted for 36.3 percent of Tampa Bay's total yards in the game.
Fournette and the Buccaneers' rushing attack had been disappointing to start the year. Fournette averaged 3.8 yards per attempt through the first three games and did not contribute meaningfully as a receiver, memorably bobbling a screen pass into an interception in Week 1. He needed this bounce-back game and has now established himself as Tampa Bay's best running back.
Joe Tryon-Shoyinka: Talk about a breakout game for the Buccaneers' first-round pick. Two sacks stand out on the stat sheet and they were impressive, but beyond the box score, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka created four quarterback pressures and played a huge part in a Lavonte David run-stopping tackle for loss and helped shut down Patriots' rushing attack.
The Buccaneers have missed Jason Pierre-Paul over the past two games as he recovers from a shoulder injury, but not drastically given Tryon-Shoyinka's breakthrough performance against New England. We wrote all offseason that Tryon-Shoyinka's first-round selection made the rich - that being the Buccaneers' edge rush - richer, and he's proving that theory true through four games.
Bucs' run defense: Tryon-Shoyinka and David's pairing for a four-yard run stop is a big reason why the Patriots finished the game with negative one rushing yards across eight carries, which forced Mac Jones to throw the ball 40 times. Allowing a league-best 2.7 yards per carry, Tampa Bay's rushing defense is proving for the third year in a row that it is one of if not the NFL's best.
The secondary, again: He couldn't throw down the field, but Jones had himself an impressive game against the Bucs by completing a whopping 19 passes in a row and 77.5 percent of his passes in total, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt.
Of course, things could have - and probably would have - been different if the Bucs' secondary was even close to full health. Instead, Tampa Bay entered the game down two starting cornerbacks, lost a third - their best one, Carlton Davis III - as well as starting safety Antoine Winfield Jr. before the final whistle. Richard Sherman didn't have a bad game but allowed numerous short-to-intermediate receptions in his debut performance with the Bucs after signing last Wednesday.
The secondary has been in our stock down column several times this season, and for good reason. Entering the game, Tampa Bay ranked last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game and remains at that ranking. Losing another two starters for the game, and perhaps longer, only makes matters worse.
Rob Gronkowski and the tight end room: It seemed as though Rob Gronkowski was on track to play in Week 4 as of Monday of last week. He returned from a rib injury to finish the game against Los Angeles in Week 3 and head coach Bruce Arians said that Gronkowski's X-rays came back negative.
That didn't end up being the case at all. Gronkowski did not get his revenge game against the Patriots and admitted that he suffered four cracked ribs, one broken rib and a punctured lung to FOX Sports reporter Jay Glazer.
That left Tampa Bay without its top red zone pass-catching weapon, and the Buccaneers suffered as such. Tom Brady completed just 3-of-16 passes for 30 yards within 30 yards of the endzone. Tight end Cameron Brate posted two grabs for 29 yards while O.J. Howard did not catch a pass in Gronkowski's place.
Antonio Brown: Antonio Brown got off to a hot start this season with five receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown against Dallas in Week 1. He hasn't exactly built upon that performance.
Brown tallied one catch for 17 yards against Atlanta a week later and missed Week 3 against the Rams while on the COVID-19 list. In fairness, he caught seven passes for 63 yards against the Patriots on Sunday, but was memorably accurately targeted on two deep passes in the end zone in a row near the end of the game and came down with neither. One was an incredible throw from Brady and went right through Brown's hands instead of resulting in a potential game-changing touchdown.
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