The team let one get away.
To open, the Bucs couldn’t have asked for a more friendly situation than the one they had at Ray-Jay on Sunday. They were within a touchdown of the Lions for the better part of the contest. The defense had a few gaffs, but there is that usually every week. It’s fairly normal when you are playing a very good offense. Some are just going to go their way. The defense gave the offense every opportunity to do their thing. The problem is, they couldn’t find the thing. They looked everywhere, with no luck. They didn’t look very well, because I saw a few of the things they were looking for on my big screen. Two of those things were Baker Mayfield missing rookie Trey Palmer on the one play Palmer was extremely wide open, and Mayfield missed him by five yards easily. Speed kills, but only if you hit your receiver. He also missed Evans badly on a few passes. Evans was more closely guarded than Palmer (speed), but you must give a guy a fighting chance. The only receiver he hit with any consistency was Godwin. There’s going to be some Mayfield fans that aren’t going to like this article much. If we’re honest, all around, the game I watched was lost because of the quarterback position. It’s not the only reason, but it was the one most easily visible to all. If Jared Goff was playing for our side, we win the game. He was money in what is going to be his best year as a pro.
But we’re 3-2; why complain?
So far, the Bucs have beaten an average-at-best Vikings team, then another average or less-than-average Bears team. The only win with any clout at all is the win on the road in Nola. When you are in a position to win against a better team, you have to cash in, especially at home. If the Bucs are going to do anything this season, they must find a way to win these types of games. Even if the Bucs win the division or get a wild card, it will be one and home. They need to learn how to overcome in games like these before the postseason is upon us. Detroit is a very good ball team. Not 49er good but close, and when your defense gives you chance after chance, you have to hit the open man. Everyone’s human, but they are paid to be superhuman. I can see Mayfield may be missing one of the two Palmer throws; think about it though, if he hit both of those open shots, we win the game, and that’s not even figuring in the Evans chunks that went awry. The Bucs Quarterback didn’t look 100% through much of the game; on the sidelines holding his finger, etc. Was he battling an injury that threw him off? No matter the case, he was off, and by a good bit. If he was hindered, why was he still in the game? That last drive, and especially the last throw to Evans, were miles off. It was a winnable game, that’s why you complain. You don’t know how many chances you will have to beat very good teams. You need to get those wins when they are there for the taking.
I’m not saying bench him.
At the close of the preseason, everyone was saying that it was nice to see that we had a backup that could step in and production not be affected. I’m not calling for Mayfield to be sat down. I’m just saying that if your number one guy isn’t getting it done and missing open receivers for touchdowns. Maybe you put the number 2 guy in that’s not hindered in any way. And, win or lose, you go back to Mayfield the next week. If again he doesn’t get it done, bring in Trask and see what happens. Then re-evaluate if need be at that point. The season is too important to flush down the toilet because of devotion to any one quarterback. Mayfield won the job. I’m all for him; if we are winning the games, we should win. If we are not, Trask proved that he was worthy of playing time if need be. I only want Mayfield to sit down if he isn’t producing when he should be. I have nothing against Mayfield starting next week; no problem at all. If he continues to be a reason that the team is coming up short, then you have to go to Trask. No matter how badly the staff and Jason Licht want Mayfield to be the man and sign a long-term deal here. No matter how many feel-good stories are produced about his rising from the ashes to save his career. If he stops being the quarterback we need him to be, you must face reality and take action to fix it. Believe me I would much rather Mayfield just rip it up for the rest of the season than for there to be reason to make a switch. I want what makes my favorite NFL team the best that it can be. If that’s Mayfield, fantastic. If it’s Kyle Trask, fantastic. I would be saying the same if Trask had won the job and started having some bad games. You can’t make the fairy tale fly right if it doesn’t want to. Hopefully, this is just a blip on a great season’s radar, and Mayfield returns to form and leads us to the division crown and beyond. He showed enough in this Lions game for the powers that be to sit up and take notice, filing it away to put with the next defeat to compare. It’s what you do with any player/position of that importance. I’ve heard it several places that Baker Mayfield gives this team the best chance to win, and I’m all for it, as long as it’s still true. Go Bucs!!