With 66,000 in attendance in the Week 1 game against the Minnesota Vikings, Baker Mayfield seemingly woke up feeling dangerous and was able to complete 22 of 34 for 169 yards, 2 tds, and 0 ints. Rookie Trey Palmer got his first TD of his career, catching a 7-yard pass from Mayfield to open the 2nd half.
The running game underperformed, but the effort was not the problem, with 33 attempts on the ground. Rashaad White led the Bucs with 39 rush yards on 17 attempts, with rookie Sean Tucker right behind with 15 yards on 5 rushes.
Now, let’s talk about that defense with 3 first-half turnovers to help catapult the Bucs to keep up with the Vikings to end the first due to the very sluggish start the offense had at the beginning of the game.
The cornerstone of our secondary, Antoine Winfield Jr., started the game off with a safety blitz that he converted into a sack-fumble and recovery, which fired up the defense to start the game off, and they battled the rest of the way, ending the first with an int by rookie Christian Izien.
White and Winfield lead the way with 12 and 8 tackles, respectively, giving the Bucs’ defense, in my opinion, a grade of B+. But that gives the defense room to improve in pass coverage, which had a few deep shots converted against them early in but slowed down the attack to close out the game.
The special teams came in clutch as newly signed Fa kicker Chase McLaughlin had 2 fgs with one being under 6 minutes to go in the game, tying his career-long 57-yard fg to go ahead in what would eventually be the final score of 20-17.
So, in closing, we have found out that the Bucs will run the rock!!! And they won’t give up on it when it’s not being effective. Baker showed intestinal fortitude and moxie by recovering from a slow start to convert 2 TDs and no picks, having a passer rating of 94.4. And yet again, the fans can seemingly depend on defense to pull us through, giving the offense time to gel with so many questions yet to be answered, like the signings of upcoming free agents White, Winfield, Mayfield, and arguably the biggest free agent being Mike Evans.
(edited by Johnny Bowers)