TAMPA, Fla. — Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes and led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1.
However, that came after he completed just three of his first 11 passes.
Mayfield is undoubtedly happy with Tampa Bay's 1-0 start but believes he, and the team, have much more room to improve before their home opener on Sunday, Sept. 17.
"Three-of-11? Talk about starting from the bottom right there. [I'm] just continuing to push forward and trust the system, not force it and [just] let the game come to us," he said after practice on Wednesday about his mentality ahead of Week 2.
The former Heisman Trophy winner allowed the game to come to him in the season opener.
He began recognizing the Vikings' defensive hand signals during what he described as a chess match in the first half. At halftime, he shared that knowledge with his teammates, and the Bucs offense played the game at their pace in the second half.
Tampa Bay possessed the ball for more than 20 minutes in the second half and Mayfield passed for 110 yards and a touchdown. He also picked up a pair of first downs with his legs in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a quarterback with an offensive lineman’s mentality. You don’t want your quarterback doing it too much, but he’ll make the yards when he has to make the yards – when the game is on the line. He plays very smart," head coach Todd Bowles said.
The Bucs host the Chicago Bears to open the home slate of their schedule. The Bears are coming off a 38-20 loss to division rival Green Bay in Week 1 in which they allowed 329 total yards and four offensive touchdowns.
Mayfield's goal is to play an entire game with the same efficiency shown in the second half against Minnesota.
"Hopefully we can continue growing and just be better through four quarters," he said.
Tampa Bay's home opener kicks off at 1 p.m. inside Raymond James Stadium.
Be sure to watch The Blitz at 8:30 a.m. every Sunday only on 10 Tampa Bay as Sports Director Evan Closky and Sports Anchor David Schiele give you full Bucs coverage leading up to each game.