Loser: Baker Mayfield haters
Sunday was a really tough day for the Baker Mayfield haters. To be fair it started out looking like everyone who buried Baker all offseason would be validated, with Mayfield taking almost the entire first half to get going.
Until the final Bucs drive of the first half, Baker was an abysmal 3-for-11 with just 12 yards passing. It was exactly the sort of stuff that some fans were worried about when he was signed back in March and his doubters have been hand wringing all offseason over potentially seeing.
It was truly the extreme fringe of what the Baker Mayfield experience might be in Tampa Bay, but it was a short lived struggle.
On that final drive of the second quarter, Mayfield went 3-for-4 and led a 71 yard touchdown drive that saw him connect with Mike Evans in the endzone. It helped swing the momentum back in the Bucs direction but also allowed Baker to shake off some rust and start to shine.
After that slow start, Baker went 15-for-19 for 110 yards and another touchdown in the second half. More than that, he displayed some serious grit on the final drive of the game to help seal the win with two gutsy plays.
On a third-and-two, Baker scrambled for a first down that saw him sacrafice his body to make it happen. Knowing he would be crunched, Baker laid out and barely got a first down that extended the Bucs drive and allowed them to continue controlling the clock.
It also gave the team a fresh set of downs that set up another first down throw a few plays later that clinched the win. On that play, Baker converted a third-and-ten with about as sweet of a pass-and-catch to Chris Godwin as we've seen in a while.
That's the sort of thing that wins over a locker room, and it feels like Baker's attitdude is something the team is embracing. Tom Brady orchestrated some huge comebacks last season, but the knock on this year's team was that it would lack that clutch factor.
Tampa Bay didn't need to come back on its final drive, rather it closed out with the sort of grit the team has been lacking but clearly has tapped into thanks to what Baker Mayfield brings to the team.