TAMPA, Fla. -- The Buccaneers' quest to win five in a row just got exceedingly difficult. Breakout star wide receiver Chris Godwin, who was just named to his first Pro Bowl, has been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Houston Texans due to a hamstring injury.
"It's just next man up. That's what you always do. One man's injury is another man's opportunity, and somebody will shine," coach Bruce Arians said.
Arians said Godwin is progressing "slowly" in his rehab. When asked if he thinks he'll make it back for the final game, he said, "I would hope so."
Godwin had 121 receiving yards in last week's victory over the Detroit Lions before suffering the injury in the third quarter. His 1,333 receiving yards is second in the league behind only the New Orleans Saints' Michael Thomas, and his nine receiving touchdowns are tied with the Lions' Marvin Jones Jr. for second most.
The Bucs are already dealing with the loss of three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans. He was placed on injured reserve this week with a hamstring injury, as was rookie wide receiver Scotty Miller. Quarterback Jameis Winston is currently playing with a fractured thumb.
"You lose Mike and you lose Chris -- who are you kidding, right? You are losing two of the best on the planet," offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said. "So we have an awareness of that. Then Scotty is down, so our room changed quick. A lot has changed on us in seven or eight days. This is the league. This is what we prepare for."
This year, Godwin and Evans have accumulated nearly 57% of the Bucs' receiving touchdowns and over 54% of their receiving yardage. They will be replaced by Breshad Perriman, who caught three touchdowns and finished with 113 receiving yards last week, and Justin Watson, who caught five of eight targets for 59 yards and a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14.
"We're blessed to have elite NFL players like Mike and Chris, but [the other players] got here for a reason too," Winston said. "And BP [Perriman] showed that last week with the performance that he had. All these other guys, they're ready to step up. They've been waiting for this moment their entire lives, so they're going to come out ready and excited and they're going to do a great job."
Ishmael Hyman was called up from the practice squad last week. They signed Cyril Grayson from the Cowboys' practice squad Tuesday. Then rookie Spencer Schnell, who had been with the team through training camp and the preseason, was re-signed, first to the practice squad and then to the active roster on Wednesday.
Heading into Week 12, the Bucs were 3-7, but they found their way to 7-7 with wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Colts and Lions. Other than the Saints, the Texans would be the only club the Bucs have faced in the second half of their season with a winning record.
The Texans will clinch the AFC South division title with a victory over the Buccaneers on Saturday.