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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4 Takeaways Before the Bye Week

A few takeaways from the Buccaneers' first five games.

A look back at Jameis Winston during the first five games of the 2016 Season.

1. Injuries have proven costly.
The Buccaneers have lost a handful of starters with injuries, but fortunately most of those players will return this season. Last week, Tampa Bay was without Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald and Robert Ayers, just to name a few. Those four account for three of four starters on the defensive line and the NFL's No. 2 rusher from 2015. With Jacquies Smith on injured reserve, all four of the Bucs' starters on the defensive line from a year ago didn't play. Those players could very well return for the Bucs after the bye, though. Buc fans saw how strong this team can be when they're healthy; Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta in Week 1, becoming the only team to beat them this season.

2. Protecting the football is a priority moving forward.
Winning the turnover battle is important for every team every week, but the Buccaneers have shown exactly how crucial it can be through their first five games. Heading into their Week 5 matchup with the Panthers, the Buccaneers had the NFL's second-worst turnover ratio at -9. The team struggled offensively at times against Carolina, but earned a victory largely in part to forcing four turnovers without turning the ball over a single time themselves.

3. The Bucs' pass-catchers are stepping up.
With Doug Martin sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Bucs have asked more of their pass-catchers. Mike Evans, in particular, is having a strong season. He's picked up 32 catches for 449 yards and four touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories. The Bucs' third receiver, Adam Humphries, has also been impressive, leading the team in yards after the catch with 145. Humphries has 20 catches for 216 yards, No. 2 among Buccaneers in both categories.

4. The Bucs' O-Line has been consistent.
The Buccaneers have enjoyed the luxury of having their entire offensive line in tact through five games – an offensive line that returned four of their five starters from a year ago. Continuity is important across the board, but especially along the line where five players are working so closely together towards the same goal. The group hasn't been perfect, but they have been consistent and helped lead the way for their first 100-yard rushing performance against Carolina.

A behind-the-scenes look at the Buccaneers' game against the Panthers.

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