Mayfield shines in final tuneup for regular season; Buccaneers hold off Ravens
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Baker Mayfield looked comfortable in his final tuneup as Tampa Bay’s new starting quarterback, throwing a touchdown pass while playing less than a quarter in the Buccaneers’ 26-20 preseason-closing victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.
Mayfield was selected as the starter over third-year pro Kyle Trask earlier in the week and played two series Saturday night, his first game action since Tampa Bay’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The No. 1 overall pick from the 2018 draft completed all six of his passes for 43 yards, including an 11-yard TD throw to Chris Godwin for the Buccaneers (2-1).
After a three-and-out to begin the game, Mayfield led the offense on a six-play, 59-yard scoring drive to wipe out a 7-0 deficit.
“We did all the little things right on that second drive. ... It was a good outing for us,” said Mayfield, who — despite playing a little less than two quarters during the preseason — feels he and the first-string offense are ready for the regular season.
“We've had a lot of good work (in practice and games),” Mayfield said. “I think we're ready. We'll see Week 1.”
As expected, Lamar Jackson did not play for the Ravens, who used the night much as they did the entire preseason — to get an extended look at backups and evaluate lots of young prospects competing for spots on the final roster.
Josh Johnson started at quarterback for Baltimore (1-2) and played into the second quarter. He was 6 of 9 passing for 95 yards and one TD before being replaced by Anthony Brown, who played most of the final three quarters and completed 12 of 21 passes for 171 yards and no TDs.
“Obviously we were kind of a skeleton crew there. ... Obviously there were a lot of things we could have done better, but guys played hard,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
“Going forward," Harbaugh added, "it's all hands on deck and all eyes forward to the opener.”
Much of Tampa Bay’s No. 1 defense, meanwhile, saw its first action of the preseason. Coach Todd Bowles sat 10 of 11 regulars the previous two weeks against the Steelers and New York Jets, with second-year defensive lineman Logan Hall the only projected starter suiting up for those games.
Johnson led a four-play, 80-yard drive against the Bucs' first unit, completing four straight passes with Laquon Treadwell scoring on a 24-yard reception for a 7-0 lead.
“Taking a drive down the field against that No. 1 defense was pretty impressive,” Harbaugh said. “You can't do it much better than that.”
Trask, a 2021 second-round draft pick who played behind Tom Brady and Blaine Gabbert the past two seasons, played nearly the entire game for the second straight week. He completed 19 of 31 passes without an interception, finishing with 192 yards passing and a 6-yard TD to tight end David Wells.
Trask, who's only thrown nine career regular-season passes, also led four drives that ended with Chase McLaughlin field goals.
Bucs center Ryan Jensen’s career could be in jeopardy with the announcement that he’s headed for injured reserve and will miss the 2023 season. The 10th-year pro tore ligaments in his left knee on the second day of training camp last year and sat out the entire 2022 regular season. Despite opting not to have surgery, the 32-year-old progressed enough that he returned to play in Tampa Bay’s wild-card playoff loss to Dallas in January. With Jensen remaining sidelined, third-year pro Robert Hainsey will start again this season.
“We did everything we could to get him ready,” Bowles said after the game. “The more he did on it, the worse it got.”
Both teams open the regular season on Sept. 10, with the Ravens hosting the Houston Texans and the Bucs traveling to Minnesota to face the Vikings.
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