It wouldn't be a game against the New Orleans Saints without a dirty hit factoring into things at some point in the contest. With Marshon Lattimore out, the duty fell to safety Tyrann Mathieu, who waited until late in the game to deliver a dirty hit on Baker Mayfield.
With the game pretty firmly out of reach for most of the afternoon, the Buccaneers made a late push to try and rouse themselves back to life. A chance to clinch the NFC South crown was on the line, but you wouldn't have been able to tell that based on how the Bucs played on Sunday.
Tampa Bay did manage to show some life late in the game, with Baker Mayfield connecting with Chris Godwin to cut the lead to 23-13. On the ensuing two-point converstion, though, things got a little rough -- literally.
Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu launched himself into Baker well after the ball had already been thrown. The hit drew a personal foul penalty but it also sent the Bucs quarterback hobbling to the bench.
Tyrann Mathieu injures Baker Mayfield on cheap dirty hit late in Week 17
No matter which way you slice it, the hit was absolutely unnecessary.
There's nothing clean about that play, it's all 100 percent certified dirty.
Baker was able to come back out after a long delay to review the two-point attempt, which was initially ruled successful but later overturned. Officials ruled that Godwin, who had caught a pass in the back of the endzone, stepped out before he caught the ball and therefore was flagged for illegal touching.
It wasn't quite as controversial as the two-point chaos in the Lions-Cowboys game, but it forced the Bucs to re-try the attempt. Tampa Bay wasn't successful the second time around, but the good news was that Baker was able to come back out and make the attempt.
With the Bucs likely headed to the playoffs -- all they need is a win next week to get in -- Baker's health will be something to monitor closely. He's been banged up a few different times this season, from a knee injury earlier in the year to needing to leave the Colts game briefly after getting crunched, and this cheap shot by Mathieu does anything but help matters.
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