‘Perfect’ Mayfield leads Bucs to win

by Gary Shelton on December 18, 2023

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

Maybe the winner of the NFC South does belong in the playoffs.

Maybe it will be the Tampa Bay Bucs.

And maybe, just maybe, the maligned Baker Mayfield will be the guy leading the charge.

You know Baker Mayfield. His new nickname is “Mr. Perfect.”

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Mayfield, who has impressed more with his grit than with his numbers this season, accomplished both in Sunday’s 34-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Mayfield completed 22 of 28 passes for 381 yards and a touchdown. He passed for four scores, by far his best performance of the season. It was the fifth time he had a quarterback rating of more than 100.

It was the league’s third perfect quarterback rating this season (the last was the 49ers’ Brock Purdy against the Bucs in mid-November.) There have been 81 players with a perfect rating  in league history (since 1948).

It’s an odd number for perfection — 158.3. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the list includes a few Peyton Manning games, a few of Tom Brady. Brady and Craig Erickson, back in 1994, have been perfect for the Bucs.

Mayfield, who had 20 touchdown passes in his first 13 games, had a rating of 89.7. But against the Packers, he had a perfect rating of 158.3. He threw touchdowns to Mike Evans (19 yards), Rachaad White (26 yards), Ko Kieft (two yards) and David Moore (52 yards).

Those were the scoring plays, but there were other impressive performances. Chris Godwin caught 10 passes for 155 yards. White ran for 89 yards in addition to his rushing yards.

Quarterback Jordan Love hit 29 of 39 passes for 284 yards.

Mayfield should get a degree of satisfaction in the victory. He fumbled after a sack early in the game to set up a Green Bay touchdown on Sunday.

The Bucs are home at Raymond James Stadium to face Jacksonville at 4:05 p.m.

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