Chris Godwin saw his outstanding 2021 season come to an end on Sunday night due to a torn ACL, and on Tuesday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially moved their leading receiver to injured reserve. Defensive lineman Patrick O'Connor, one of the team's top special teams performers, was also placed on injured reserve with a knee ailment.
Both Godwin and O'Connor were injured in the Buccaneers Week 15 loss to the New Orleans Saints. On Monday, Head Coach Bruce Arians revealed that Godwin was done for the season but was still awaiting word on the severity of O'Connor's injury. Players placed on injured reserve once the regular season has begun must miss at least three games before being eligible to return. The Buccaneers have just three games left on their 2021 schedule but are close to clinching a playoff spot that would extend their season.
Godwin finishes his fifth NFL season with a career-high 98 receptions, which ranks third in the NFL and is the second-highest single-season total in franchise history. Those catches produced 1,103 yards and five touchdowns, and he also ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown. Over the course of his ultra-productive 2021 campaign, Godwin has moved up on the Buccaneers' career lists to third in receptions (402) and fourth in receiving yards (4,643).
Godwin was also the Buccaneers' most productive player out of the slot, taking 53% of his snaps there and routinely turning quick passes into sizeable gains and first downs. He is currently second in the NFL in yards after the catch (YAC) with 613, trailing only Pro Bowl selection Cooper Kupp.
O'Connor was Tampa Bay's most active special teams player through the first 14 games of the season, playing 319 total snaps, or 86.0% of the team's total. Only one other player on the roster, outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, has played more than 70% of the Bucs' special teams snaps. O'Connor also played 353 special teams snaps in 2020, second most on the team.
O'Connor also saw limited action on defense, contributing three tackles, one tackle for loss, 0.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.
The Buccaneers roster currently stands at 49 active players, four below the limit of 53, as wide receiver Antonio Brown and safety Mike Edwards have returned from suspensions but do not yet count against that limit. There are likely to be a considerable number of additional moves in the days to come, particularly as the Buccaneers determined the severity of injuries to other key players, including Mike Evans (hamstring), Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and Lavonte David (foot).