One of the storylines heading into the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was how many young players were making the trip to Minnesota for Week 1. Th
The Bucs brought almost two dozen rookies to training camp, with a large chunk of them being undrafted free agents. Christian Izien was one of those undrafted rookies who came to camp with something to prove, and he did that to such a degree that he earned a starting job the first chance Todd Bowles had to give him one.
Izien was named the Bucs starting nickel corner ahead of the 53-man roster cuts, and he wasted no time in making coaches feel good about that decision.
Buccaneers rookie Christian Izien is already making Bucs fans proud
Baker Mayfield's sluggish start was what everyone was talking about, but it was the defense that deserved the attention. Tampa Bay forced three first half turnovers, including an Antoine Winfield strip sack that served as a nice little homecoming moment for him.
Perhaps the best highlight of the first half -- including Baker's first touchdown pass of the season to Mike Evans -- was made by Izien.
With the Vikings knocking on the verge of scoring and taking a halftime lead, Izien ripped the ball out of KJ Osbourne's hands right at the goal line. It went down as an interception and kept points off the board.
Just watch, it's ridiculous:
Izien's play went viral not for what he did but for how Justin Jefferson clocked him at the end of the play. To be fair, it was a wild hit, but what Izien did had a much bigger impact on the game. Izien snatched a lead right out of the Vikings jaw, and made sure the game remained tied 10-10.
Most significantly, the Bucs came out of halftime and scored a touchdown to take the lead -- which wouldn't have happened if Izien hadn't made this play.
It was an impressive way for the Bucs defense to end an outstanding first half, but it was even better to see Izien make such a massive impact in his first career start.