Mayfield’s Three TD Passes Lifts Bucs’ Wild Card Win Over Eagles

Ken Cross

January 16, 2024 at 10:51 am.

TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Ba quarterback Baker Mayfield guided the Bucs to a 32-9 NFC Wild Card win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. Mayfield, fighting ankle and rib injuries, tossed three touchdown passes as he completed 22-of-36 passes for 337 yards. He became the first quarterback in Bucs’ history to throw for 300-plus yards and three or more scoring passes in a playoff game.

“If you looked at him during the week, he was limping around and he wasn’t practicing,” said Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles, who picked up his first playoff win as a head coach. “He was getting a little better each day.”

Mayfield opened the game with a 12-play drive that resulted in a 28-yard Chase McMillan field goal, giving Tampa Bay an early 3-0 lead. On the next drive, he found David Moore on a 44-yard touchdown pass that gave Tampa Bay a quick 10-0 advantage.

Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were somewhat stymied by the Eagles’ defense as they recorded three and four receptions respectively.

In turn, tight end Cade Otton and receivers David Moore and Trey Palmer stepped up and produced. Otton led with eight catches for 89 yards, while Moore and Palmer recorded touchdowns.

“They were running a couple of coverages where they were double-teaming Mike and Chris at the same time,” said Mayfield. “Those guys had a lot of one-on-ones and took advantage of their opportunities.”

As Palmer and Moore stepped up as playmakers inside of the Buccaneers’ passing game, it characterized the depth among skill players for Mayfield to find at receiver.

“Credit Mike and Chris for drawing guys away from them and Baker finding them,” said Bowles. “They did a great job finishing plays, especially the run after catches with Moore and Palmer and turning them into touchdowns,  so that was outstanding.”

Tampa Bay took a 16-9 lead at halftime and after a safety when Philadelphia QB Jalen Hurts was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, Mayfield hit Palmer near the right sideline. He sprinted across the field for a 54-yard touchdown pass which opened the gates for the Bucs and gave them a 25-9 lead with 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“A relentless pass rush kept going and going for (Anthony) Nelson,” noted Bowles. “He just comes up with play after play after play at the right time, and then, we get a score after that.”


Swashbuckling Defensive Evening: As the Buccaneers handed Philadelphia its sixth loss in the last seven games after a 10-1 start, the defense came into play repeatedly in allowing only 276 total yards.

Interestingly, the Eagles rushed for 201 yards on 40 carries in their Week 3 win over Tampa Bay. Monday evening, Philadelphia never made it an issue to try to maximize running back DeAndre Swift and the running game as he only had 10 carries for 34 yards and Philly only rushed for 42 yards on 15 carries.

Tampa Bay used a six-man defensive front as a key in stopping the Eagles’ rushing attack.

“As you know, the last time we played them, they got over 200 yards rushing,” said Bowles. “We were bound to not let that happen again, so we made sure to put some calls in to try to scheme up some things and get them out of it a little bit.”

Linebacker Lavonte David was second in tackles with five, as he also had two tackles for loss. Corner Jamel Dean was the leading tackler for Tampa Bay with 10, as nine were solo and one was for loss.

“Us getting on defense, us getting on both sides of the ball and playing complementary football,” said David. “Everybody going out there and having fun and just knowing what was at stake.”