Baker Mayfield’s first quarter INT
Right out of the gate the Bucs were getting in their own way and stunting momentum from building. On the team’s second drive, Baker Mayfield’s pass was tipped at the line and fell into the waiting arms of Lions defensive back Will Harris.
There was layers to this moment that help illustrate how the day would go after.
The interception was bad enough on its own, as it gave the Lions the ball inside of the redzone and with a prime scoring chance. Luckily the Bucs defense held and only surrendered a field goal, but the twist of the knife came upon looking at the replay.
Mayfield was trying to throw the ball to Mike Evans, who was wide open behind busted coverage by the Detroit secondary. Had the pass not been tipped and found its way to Evans, it would have been a 70-plus yard waltz to the endzone as there was nothing but green grass in front of the Bucs receiver.
What’s most troubling about this is how eerily similar it is to the vibe of what happened on offense lane season. Against the Panthers, Mike Evans missed an easy deep ball from Tom Brady that would have resulted in an early lead for the Bucs. Instead the ball fell through Evans’ hands and the Bucs offense sputtered toward a loss. The same thing happened against the 49ers, when a touchdown was called back after a Donovan Smith holding penalty, after which the Bucs offense went silent.
After this miss that resulted in an interception, the Bucs offense failed to get anything going and would only muster up six points. It was the difference between taking a 7-0 lead and handing momentum over the Lions that they wouldn’t ever give back.