Tampa Bay cut New England’s lead to one point at 7-6 just before halftime.
But the Buccaneers’ cornerback situation looks to have gone from bad to worse.
Carlton Davis was carted to the locker room after suffering an apparent non-contact leg injury while on the punt return team late in the second quarter. Davis was down for several minutes before he was helped off the field by trainers. He was not putting any weight on his left leg as he went to the sideline.
Davis entered the game questionable with injuries to his abdomen and ribs.
Tampa Bay started newly signed corner Richard Sherman opposite Davis on Sunday with Jamel Dean inactive with a knee injury and Sean Murphy-Bunting on injured reserve with an elbow injury. The Buccaneers now have Ross Cockrell, Dee Delaney, Pierre Desir, and Rashard Robinson available at cornerback.
Quarterback Tom Brady is 15-of-27 passing for 182 yards after 30 minutes, setting the all-time record for passing yards in the first quarter. But the Bucs’ offense has stalled when reaching the red zone. Ryan Succop missed a 36-yard field goal wide right in the second quarter.
For the Patriots, quarterback Mac Jones found some success when the offense started spreading things out because the run game has -6 yards at halftime. Jones is 15-of-20 for 130 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Tight end Hunter Henry caught his first touchdown as a Patriot in the second quarter to give New England a 7-3 lead.
The Buccaneers will have the ball to start the second half.