TAMPA — Battling rib and ankle accidents, Tampa Bay quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 32-9 within the wild-card spherical, securing the Buccaneers‘ largest playoff win since their 27-point Tremendous Bowl XXXVII victory, regardless of being 3.5-point residence underdogs Monday night time.
“There’s one thing about whether or not it is you are an underdog or [on] a street sport, simply having your backs towards the wall and realizing it is simply your staff versus everyone else while you’re counted out,” mentioned Mayfield, who grew to become the primary Buccaneer to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a postseason sport — a feat not even his predecessor, Tom Brady, was in a position to accomplish in three years with Tampa. “It is at all times enjoyable to be in that position. Clearly I am fairly snug in it, however our staff has fully embraced that all year long.”
On prime of that, he was combating a rib harm sustained two weeks in the past in a loss to the New Orleans Saints, after which an ankle harm he suffered at Carolina final week. Mayfield flew in his private physiotherapist twice this week to assist him work via the accidents, which restricted his follow time.
“He gutted it out,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles mentioned. “I imply, should you checked out him in the course of the week — he was limping round, he wasn’t practising, he was getting just a little higher every day — hopefully they did not hit him an excessive amount of. I do know they bought some photographs on him and so they bought what, 4 sacks? So he got here again from that, he stayed with the plan, he by no means flinched, and he made play after play after play, and that claims an entire lot about him.”
Regardless of six drops from his receiving targets within the first half alone, together with three from tight finish Cade Otton, Mayfield saved the power constructive and inspiring on the sideline.
“He was sharp. I imply, the entire sport he was sharp. … They dropped some passes, however he saved coming again, he saved going to them,” Bowles mentioned.
“He is at all times encouraging,” mentioned Otton, who led the Bucs with 89 receiving yards. “I really feel like we as a staff simply tackle his character. Simply at all times competing, at all times has that fireside. We’re seeing it come collectively, we’re getting higher so far as executing. We’re by no means out of the battle. We’re at all times going to compete similar to he does.”
After 28-yard subject purpose on the opening drive from Bucs kicker Chase McLaughlin, Mayfield discovered seldom-used vast receiver David Moore on a crossing route for a 44-yard landing to take a 10-0 lead. McLaughlin adopted with 54- and 48-yard subject objectives within the second quarter. A 3rd-quarter security from Anthony Nelson supplied a much-needed jolt, as Mayfield linked with rookie Trey Palmer on a 56-yard landing two performs later. Then he connected with vast receiver Chris Godwin down the center on a 23-yard rating within the fourth.
“I really like taking part in with Baker,” exterior linebacker Shaquil Barrett mentioned. “I knew Baker was going to be particular for us as soon as he gained the job. I noticed it from when he first bought into the league. He simply wanted to be wholesome and a great alternative. And I believe he bought that with us, and he is exhibiting what he can do with it and I really like what I am seeing from him.”
Moments after jogging off the sphere at Raymond James Stadium with a triumphant “Let’s go!” Mayfield was requested to check the victory to that of his 48-37 playoff win towards the Pittsburgh Steelers when he was with the Cleveland Browns in 2020.
Mayfield shrugged his shoulders and gave a short pause. “Fairly good,” he mentioned, earlier than revealing a mischievous grin and cracking a smile.
Was it even sweeter after the journey he’d been on over the previous yr? After being traded away by the Browns in July 2022, lower by the Panthers in December of that yr and signed to the Los Angeles Rams for 5 video games earlier than the Bucs signed him this offseason to a one-year deal price $4 million?
“Yeah, I imply I do not wish to straight examine,” Mayfield mentioned. “However yeah, clearly the ups and downs that I have been via the previous few years, this one’s nice … however our sights are set for greater objectives, so on to the following one.”
The subsequent one shall be on the street, towards the Detroit Lions within the divisional spherical, with the Bucs as soon as once more the underdogs. The Lions are presently 6-point favorites after defeating the Los Angeles Rams 24-23 on Sunday night time.
The Bucs misplaced to the Lions 20-6 after they hosted them in Week 6.
“We do not actually assume or care about what the surface says,” Otton mentioned. “We all know the standard of gamers we’ve got within the locker room, the standard of individuals, the coaches, the entire whole group.”
“It is a revenge tour,” added inside linebacker Devin White. “All people on this locker room, we consider in each other, and that is all that issues. Persons are going to speak on TV, they will make their predictions. However on the finish of the day, the ball must be positioned and we’ve got to go on the market and play. What folks say does not decide the end result.”