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Buccaneers Defeat Vikings 20-17 As Baker Mayfield Finishes Strong In His Debut


Baker Mayfield‘s tenacity throughout the remainder of his debut certainly outweighed the rocky beginning.

A more than capable defense also provided him with a lot of assistance.

After three Vikings turnovers in the first half on Sunday, Mayfield rebounded to throw two touchdown passes without committing a turnover, and the Buccaneers defeated Minnesota 20-17 in the season opener.

Tampa Bay’s Chase McLaughlin, another significant offseason acquisition, tied his career-long field goal of 57 yards to give the Buccaneers the lead with 5:10 remaining. On Minnesota’s following two possessions, the Buccaneers forced a three-and-out.

To replace the departed Tom Brady, first overall pick in the 2018 draft Baker Mayfield, who joined his fourth team in three years, completed 21 of 34 passes after starting the game 3-for-11. Just before halftime, he scored on a pass from Mike Evans to make the score 10-all.

Around the three-minute mark, at the Minnesota 39, Mayfield sprinted around the right end to convert a third-and-two. After the two-minute warning, Chris Godwin converted a third-and-10 to seal the victory with a stretched-out fingertip catch.

Jordan Addison and Alexander Mattison each scored touchdowns on passes from Kirk Cousins, who finished 33 for 44 for 344 yards. Justin Jefferson added nine receptions for 150 yards. But after an NFL-record 11-0 record in games decided by one touchdown in the 2022 regular season.

The Buccaneers received a fresh set of downs to complete a drive that consumed nearly nine minutes out of the third quarter, culminating in a touchdown pass to rookie Trey Palmer that made the score 17-10 when rookie Jay Ward was penalized for lining up in the neutral zone on a field goal attempt by McLaughlin.

The Buccaneers, who had four first-round picks in the defense draft and only seven starters from the 2020 Super Bowl champs remaining, caught Cousins off guard with a few early safety blitzes by Antoine Winfield Jr. To keep Mattison quiet on the ground, they often blocked the middle with Vita Vea and her companions.

Despite a drive that gained no yards, Winfield, whose father played nine seasons in Minnesota’s secondary, recovered the fumble from his strip-sack of Cousins at the Vikings 30 to set up a quick field goal for the Buccaneers. Late in the first half, rookie Christian Izien intercepted Cousins close to the goal line.

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