Gronkowski suffered broken ribs and a partially punctured lung during Week 3 against the Rams and was unable to make his return to Foxboro last Sunday against the Patriots. His absence was felt in Tampa Bay’s offense, particularly in the red zone. The Buccaneers went just 1-of-4 in the final 20, settling for three field goals from kicker Ryan Succop instead.
Gronkowski had been the go-to target down there in the first two games, where he hauled in four touchdowns from quarterback Tom Brady. Neither Cameron Brate nor O.J. Howard could fill the void against New England, as they combined for just two receptions for 29 yardas.
Even with Gronkowski sidelined, Tampa Bay (3-1) opens as a 9.5-point favorite at home against Miami (1-3) a 1:00 pm. on CBS, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
The injury bug has struck the defending Super Bowl Champions early, as Tampa Bay will be without key starters in Gronkowski, Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Antoine Winfield Jr. Giovani Bernard, Jason Pierre-Paul and Jamel Dean will hope to return against Miami after sitting out against the Patriots.