Positive Update on Buccaneers Tackle Wirfs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a final drive to forget in their Week 12 23-17 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns, but at least its effects might not linger into the rest of the season. After being carted off with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury, initial X-rays have come back negative on All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs was rolled up on when a Browns defender lept into the air at the line of scrimmage in an attempt to block a second-down pass. The injury was apparently gruesome enough that the broadcast declined to show a replay. Wirfs was down for a significant amount of time before being delicately helped onto a cart and escorted to the locker room. The Buccaneers promptly absorbed a third-down sack on the very next play and were forced to punt.

Wirfs has been the best player on a Buccaneers offensive line that has struggled for much of the year. His 85.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus through the first 10 games of the season is by far the best of any Bucs starter. Despite his consistent excellence, the Bucs ranked an abysmal 32nd in rushing yards and rushing yards per attempt while scoring the sixth-fewest points in the league through 11 weeks of the regular season. They'll likely continue to struggle in his absence.

Wirfs initially joined the Bucs as their 13th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. His arrival, along with the acquisition of quarterback Tom Brady, propelled the Bucs to a glorious two-year run that included a Super Bowl win and two consecutive years of setting franchise records in total scoring. Wirfs earned the first Pro Bowl and All-Pro of his career in 2021.
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