After getting dunked on all offseason long in the wake of Tom Brady retiring, it appears the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ripped out of the doubters hands and have flipped the script.
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Bucs are 3-1 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. It's a total reversal from what was expected out of the team, as experts wrote the Bucs off and deemed them everything from a tank candidate to the second-worst team in the league.
Monday's loss to the Eagles looked like it could knock the Bucs off their early progress, but now the team heads into its bye week as one of the best teams in the NFC. We're still a ways off from talking about the playoff picture, but right now the Bucs are the No. 3 seed and would be hosting yet another playoff game.
Not too bad for a team that was supposed to tank this season.
Sunday was perhaps the best statement the Bucs have made all season. Wins over the Vikings and Bears haven't aged particularly well, and a loss against the Eagles set the Bucs up to potentially be labeled as frauds. Going on the road to New Orleans and beating up division rival -- a team expected to win the division -- to take over first place is the type of thing a really good team does.
It appears that, against all odds, the Bucs are that kind of team.
Baker Mayfield had perfect response after 26-9 win over Saints
One of the reasons the Bucs have gotten off to such a hot start is Baker Mayfield. He's come to fully embody the underdog spirit of the team, and has completely won over the locker room with his play the first four weeks.
He's also winning games, which is even more important.
After the game, Mayfield once again mentioned the offseason narrative around the Bucs and how the team continues to prove the doubters wrong.
"Right now the narrative is going to flip," Mayfield said. "We have to keep that mindset even more so, you can't change whether people are patting you on the back or talking trash about you. We've known all along what we have in this building, we've been saying that since the offseason. We just have to keep getting better and better."
For all of the jokes that were made at Baker's expense when he signed with the Bucs, this guy is the type of leader so many teams around the league wish they could have in the locker room. Don't you think the Jets would like to have Baker right about now? Good thing the Browns got rid of him, especially on a Sunday where Cleveland got walloped 27-3 while Baker dominated in New Orleans.
Baker went for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the win over New Orleans and added some more Angry Runs to boot. His grittiness has become the identity of the Bucs, which is really a reflection of the defense and goes to show how much Baker has truly brought the team together.
There's still work that needs to be done, but so far Baker has helped completely flip the script for the Buccaneers and continues to prove the doubters wrong.