Baker Mayfield may have gotten Packers defensive coordinator fired

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Baker Mayfield played the game of his life against the Green Bay Packers last December.

Few gave the Bucs a shot when they entered Lambeau Field despite winning their previous two games. The Packers had just defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs in consecutive weeks and were building momentum in a surprise playoff push.

Mayfield quickly put an end to that, completing 22 of 28 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns for a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The Bucs were comfortable winners with an emphatic 34-20 victory, only failing to score on two possessions (not including the final drive when Tampa Bay drained the clock).

The game was huge for the Buccaneers' season. It was their third win in a row, but this was a statement. They had previously defeated the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, but going into Lambeau and winning in this style against a red-hot Packers team was on another level.

Mayfield's performance potentially also had a significant impact on the Packers' future.

Baker Mayfield's perfect performance may have caused big Packers change

Former Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry was already under pressure before Mayfield threw four touchdowns against his defense. Green Bay fired Barry at the end of the season, replacing him with Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley.

Interestingly, Cheesehead TV's Aaron Nagler believes Mayfield's performance may have been the "beginning of the end" for Barry in Green Bay. In a live chat with Packers fans, he was asked when Packers head coach Matt LaFleur decided to make a change.

"I don't think he'd ever admit this, but after the Buccaneers game last year when they were pretty much embarrassed on that side of the ball," said Nagler. "Baker Mayfield was coming off a game when he was downright atrocious in Atlanta, and then comes out and has a perfect passer rating and seemingly can do whatever the hell he wants."

"We know from that point on, Matt was more involved on the defensive side of the ball. I tend to think that was, maybe not the breaking point, but that was the beginning of the end for Joe," said Nagler.

We may never know for certain when LaFleur decided enough was enough, but Nagler makes a great point.

Mayfield making it look so easy against Barry's defense was a turning point. LaFleur admitted to taking more control of the defense from that moment, which was notable in the performances. Green Bay played far more aggressively down the stretch. Mayfield destroyed the Packers' soft zone coverages, and the Bucs took advantage by having Chris Godwin line up against linebacker De'Vondre Campbell.

As LaFleur got more involved, Green Bay's defense improved. At the end of the season, the Packers replaced Barry with Hafley, who is known for having a far more aggressive scheme.

Whether it works out well for the Packers or not, they could have Mayfield and the Bucs to thank for the drastic changes on defense.

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