The Buccaneers won a wild card playoff 31-15 against the Eagles, but they lost one of their best offensive players throughout the game.
Attacking save Tristan Wirfs failed in the team’s first game with an ankle injury. He limped off the pitch and had to be escorted to the dressing room. He returned to the game, but he was eventually replaced by Josh Wells and did not play in the second half.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians provided an update on Wirfs in his post-game press conference.
“He sprained his ankle,” said Arians, before talking about how long the Wirfs might be sidelined, “We’ll see.”
The Buccaneers attack performed well enough without Wirfs in the lineup. They passed 349 yards and 31 with him after missing most of the action.
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However, the Eagles were able to put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady and fired him four times. That’s a result in line with the maximum number of sacks allowed for the Buccaneers this season, matching the onslaught Brady endured in the 9-0 loss to the Saints in Week 15.
The Bucs only allowed 22 sacks before Sunday’s game, good for at least in the NFL. However, the team added three more times in the regular four games of the season and hit a 1-3 record in those competitions. Their only win came by two points against the Patriots, who were close to taking the lead with less than a minute left in the game.
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Stopping pressure has a big impact on the Bucs’ ability to win. Wirfs only allows two sacks during the regular season while play in all 764 among Tampa Bay’s saves, so he’s clearly been a big part of Brady’s clean sheet.
That’s why the Arians are so hopeful that Wirfs will get to play in the subdivision knockout.
“Hopefully we can keep our attacking line intact because I think they are the best in football, especially Tristan,” said Arians. “They’ll work on that ankle non-stop.”