By: Garrett Ballard
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the New Orleans Saints 26-9 behind a big performance from Baker Mayfield. The new Buccaneer quarterback threw for 246 yards and three touchdowns in his first rivalry game against the Saints.
Mayfield kept the team on course, especially in the second half without star receiver Mike Evans. With touchdown passes to Cade Otton, Trey Palmer and Deven Thompkins, Mayfield proved he can use the full depth of this receiver core to score.
Mayfield spoke postgame about “trusting our guys,” and finding the one-on-one matchups when they present themselves.
“Thompkins, Trey [Palmer], and [Rakim] Jarrett all really stepped up,” Todd Bowles says.
Bowles was nothing but complimentary of Mayfield postgame as well.
“He played a heck of a ball game,” Bowles said. “Bake’s tough. He fits in here, he understands the offense very well, the guys love to play for him and he works for us.”
The player of the game was arguably Antoine Winfield Jr., however. Winfield was playing lights out all game. His final stat line was nine tackles, one sack, two TFLs, a forced fumble and recovery, and a pass breakup. Just before halftime, Mayfield threw a goalline interception, that was downed at the one-yard line. Winfield then forced a fumble that led to the Palmer touchdown with less than 30 seconds left in the first half.
Bowles mentioned how important it was for the defense to get back on track this week after their loss to the Eagles last week.
The defense held Derek Carr to just 127 passing yards, no touchdowns, and sacked him three times. The Buccaneers’ defense played spoiler on Alvin Kamara’s return to stifle the Saints’ offense.
Wide receiver Mike Evans suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return. Bowles said they would know more about the injury later.
Safety Ryan Neal entered the concussion protocol on the second play of the game and did not return.
With these injuries, on top of the other ones accrued over the first three weeks, the Buccaneers might be thankful they have a bye week coming up. A week five bye week means a grueling second part to the season but will give the team the chance to get healthy for that stretch of games.