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Bucs WR Godwin Makes History As He Continues Road Back

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By: Bailey Adams

Bucs wide receiver Chris Godwin has long been the 1B to Mike Evans’ 1A, and that’s now officially the case when it comes to the leading receivers in franchise history.

During Tampa Bay’s 16-13 win over the Rams on Sunday, Godwin passed Mark Carrier for the second-most receiving yards in franchise history. At 5,047 yards, Godwin now sits behind Evans – and Evans only – in Bucs history.

Evans, of course, is set to become the first player in franchise history to record 10,000 receiving yards with the team. That will happen any week now, as he sits at 9,918. It’s hard to imagine anyone ever passing him, but Godwin continued to cement his place in team history on Sunday night.

As many records as Evans has, Godwin’s career has already been special in its own right. He broke out late in 2017 as a rookie, then put up 842 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018 before his first 1,000-yard season in 2019. That was his first Pro Bowl season, as he caught 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

The 2020 season saw him reach new heights in terms of notoriety, as he quickly became a favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady on the way to Tampa Bay’s second-ever Super Bowl. That season, he totaled 840 yards and seven scores. He followed that up in 2021 by getting off to a scorching start and posting a career-high 98 catches for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games before tearing his ACL in a December game against the New Orleans Saints.

Godwin is pretty well established as one of the franchise’s best receivers ever. He’s now second on the all-time receiving yards list, plus he sits third in receptions and fifth in receiving touchdowns. The key right now, though, is the veteran receiver getting back to the form he was in before his knee surgery. So far in 2022, that’s proven to be a work in progress.

Godwin Still Working His Way Back To His Best For The Bucs In 2022

For Tampa Bay to have its top two receivers all-time on the same offense for this long is pretty unique, and it’s not hard to see why the unit put up so many points from 2019-2021. But a contributing factor to the 2022 offense’s struggles may be the fact that Godwin hasn’t quite made it all the way back to his previous self. Returning from his torn ACL, he has 42 catches for 404 yards (9.8 avg.) and zero touchdowns in seven games this season.

That 9.8 yards per catch average is perhaps the biggest indicator that Godwin is still searching for his old standard. He averaged 15.4, 14.3, 15.5, 12.9 and 11.3 yards per catch in his first five seasons, so he’s seen a bit of a dip so far this season. His role has been a little different since Brady came to town, but it’s clear that he currently isn’t the driving force for the offense that he used to be. He currently has a 70.3 grade for the season from PFF and while that’s a solid grade, it’s also the lowest of his career.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin

Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Obviously, Godwin didn’t have a normal offseason. He spent his months off dealing with the rehab process. He avoided the PUP list when training camp began, but he spent a lot of time working on his own before joining team drills in a limited capacity. His first live action since last December came in the Bucs’ season opener at Dallas, not in the preseason. So, the veteran receiver has been adapting on the fly. An early-season hamstring injury surely didn’t help, either.

Sometimes, it can take players a year or so to fully recover from such a serious injury. Godwin may need this year to fully get back to normal before he really looks like himself again in 2023.

Tampa Bay showed faith in its second-leading receiver all-time this offseason. The Bucs signed Godwin to a three-year, $60 million contract despite the fact that he was coming off of a torn ACL. They’re surely hoping to get their money’s worth from that deal, and he’s obviously hoping he can become the receiver he was before the injury. There’s still time for this deal to work out, of course, but the sooner the better for everyone involved.

Tampa Bay is leading a very bad NFC South at 4-5 right now, but its offense is averaging just 17.2 points per game after years of posting nearly 30 per game. The Bucs have only broken 30 points once this year, and that was in a 41-31 loss to the Chiefs in Week 4. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has come under fire and execution has been poor in almost every area this season.

But if Godwin can start to look more like the old Godwin in the second half of this season, it would provide a major boost to an offense that badly needs one. It may even make the difference of whether or not Tampa Bay re-establishes itself as a potential Super Bowl contender.

The post Bucs WR Godwin Makes History As He Continues Road Back appeared first on Pewter Report.

Originally posted on Pewter Report