After an offseason of getting buried by just about every pundit who covers the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off their revenge tour with an upset win.
Tampa Bay went up to Minnesota and left with a 20-17 win over the Vikings. It was a win that saw the Bucs start slow but find their rhythm in a way we really didn’t see much of last season. Baker Mayfield and Dave Canales have the Bucs offense looking like a totally different unit this year, despite some of the same old flaws rearing their ugly heads at points throughout the win.
There are still major questions about the run game, which failed to pop in any significant way, and the offensive line is still suspect. The Bucs committed some sloppy penalties and there were some boneheaded mistakes that simply cannot be allowed to happen. Things aren’t perfect, but Sunday saw the team do enough to notch the first win of the season — and the catharsis it created was beautiful.
One of the reasons the Bucs were able to secure the win was how Baker Mayfield played. He started slow but bounced back with a huge second half that saw him essentially ice the game himself with two clutch plays.
Mayfield scrambled for a key first down on a third-and-two, which set up a fresh set of downs that allowed him to hit Chris Godwin for the game-winning first down a few plays later. It was a gritty performance, one that the Bucs will surely feed off, but Baker is far from satisfied despite how well things went.
Baker Mayfield says Bucs offense has ‘a long way to go’ after Week 1 win
After the game Baker spoke to the media and was quick to mention he’s not yet satisfied with where the offense is at. It’s not that he wasn’t happy about the win — which he was — but he noted that there’s still plenty of room for the unit to grow.
“It was a good test for us for our first match. We’re going to grow. We’re going to get better,” Mayfield said after the game. “Offensively, we have a long way to go. But we’ll take all the wins we can get. It’s extremely hard in this league.”
That’s leadership right there. It’d be easy for the Bucs to fall into the trap of resting on the cathartisis of the upset win. Baker is clearly not ready to allow that to happen, and is looking ahead to what the Bucs can build on from a game they stole from the Vikings.
It was an impressive win, but hardly one that indicates the team is anywhere near the championship level it needs to be to truly contend. There’s a lot to love, from the way the defense played to the way the team adjusted at halftime, but Baker is right in noting the team has a long ways to go.
Some might try to sell this as the Baker knocking his own team, but it’s simply more proof that he’s exactly the type of leader the Bucs signed him to be.