Earnest Graham Injury: Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Win Without a RB?

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystOctober 24, 2011

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 16: Running back Earnest Graham #34 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield against the New Orleans Saints October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dealt a double dose of bad news in London on Sunday. Not only did they lose their game with the Chicago Bears by a score of 24-18, they also suffered yet another injury in their offensive backfield.

In the first quarter, running back Earnest Graham went down with an ankle injury and did not return.

Graham was filling in for injured starter LeGarrette Blount for the second consecutive week. With Blount's knee injury clouding his playing status going forward, the last thing the Buccaneers needed was for the 31-year-old Graham—who had played well in Blount's stead—to go down with an injury of his own.

By default, the job of lead back for Tampa Bay fell to Kregg Lumpkin. However, the third-year veteran is more of a blocker than a ball-carrier (as evidenced by his eight carries for 15 yards).

As a result, the Buccaneers offense would be severely hampered should they need to call on Lumpkin for any period of time.

Luckily for Raheem Morris' team, they have a bye in Week 8.

With any luck—and depending on the severity of Graham's injury—they could have one (if not both) of their tailbacks back in the fold when they travel to New Orleans for a crucial divisional game in Week 9.

The Buccaneers are still very much in the hunt in the NFC South. However, if they are to remain there, they will need to get either LeGarrette Blount or Earnest Graham back on the field soon.

It's rather difficult for a team built around running the ball to do so without any—you know—running backs.