Baker Mayfield feels like Buccaneers could make huge strides in Year Two

Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield threw three touchdowns in Detroit on Sunday, but his final pass was picked off by Derrick Barnes with just over a minute left in the game and the Bucs lost 31-23. He joined the Bucs on a one-year deal as a free agent last year and his first season was a big rebound from a couple of down years spent with the Browns, Panthers, and Rams. He threw for 4,044 yards and 28 touchdowns during the regular season and then threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff win over the Eagles.

After the game, head coach Todd Bowles said that Baker Mayfield has definitely earned a new contract and Mayfield likes the idea of having another year in the offense. He loves this group. He has said that all year and it is authentic. It would mean a lot to him, to bring back a lot of key pieces, to get this back together, to get into Year Two in the system.

Baker Mayfield feels like the Bucs could make huge strides. He would love that. Obviously, the Bucs will see how it is going to play out but he can not say enough about this organization and the opportunity it gave him this year. Bowles said it is too early to talk about Mayfield’s next contract, but it probably will not be long before that is a main topic of conversation in Tampa. At the snap, 99 seconds remained in Sunday’s NFC division-round game against the Lions. The Bucs had one timeout left and trailed by a touchdown and two-point conversion.

Baker Mayfield had the football in his hands and continued to pump belief into his teammates’ hearts.

Chris Godwin fully believed the Bucs was going to drive down, get a touchdown, get a two-point conversion to extend it to overtime even though the team was 85 yards from the end zone. However, Baker Mayfield’s pass for tight end Cade Otton was intercepted by linebacker Derrick Barnes, sealing a 31-23 Lions win, and sending Ford Field into a frenzy and Detroit to next Sunday’s conference title game against the 49ers in Santa Clara, California. Afterward, everywhere you looked you saw proud players from an overachieving Bucs team whose futures are uncertain.

Baker Mayfield, on his fourth team in less than two years and with a first-time play-caller, passing for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Even though Mayfield and the Bucs have expressed interest in a long-term extension, he will become a free agent. Not many gave the Bucs a chance to have a winning record this season, much less capture a third straight NFC South title, upset the defending NFC champion Eagles and go down to the wire with the Lions.

The Bucs was a score and just over 13 minutes away from playing to go to the Super Bowl. It turned out to be one of the most maddeningly entertaining Bucs teams in years. The Bucs started 3-1, cratered by losing six of seven games, spiked by winning six out of the next seven, and found themselves in another rollercoaster affair against the Lions. The Bucs trailed 10-3 before Baker Mayfield capped a 92-yard drive with a 2-yard TD pass to Otton just before halftime.

Thee Bucs were down 17-10 before Baker Mayfield connected with Rachaad White for a 12-yard TD pass late in the third quarter.

But the defense could not contain Lions quarterback Jared Goff, who passed for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and Jahmyr Gibbs put Detroit ahead to stay with his 31-yard TD run with 13:13 left. Aside from a possible emotional parting with Evans, the uncertainty with Baker Mayfield is just as paramount. Bowles said Mayfield has earned the right to be the Bucs’ quarterback moving forward. Mayfield hated how the season ended.