Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Takeaways from Buccaneers vs. Ravens | Preseason Week 3

Top observations from Saturday’s preseason finale with the Baltimore Ravens

Takeaways Bucs Ravens_

In the final tune-up performance prior to the start of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held on for a late 26-20 victory at Raymond James Stadium over the Baltimore Ravens. After recently being appointed as the Bucs' starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield shined during two possessions on the field. Overall, the Bucs offense accumulated 385 yards during the evening, achieving balance between the aerial and ground attack. Here are the top observations from the August 26 meeting between the two clubs: 

Baker Mayfield Puts on a Show 

Baker Mayfield was nearly flawless on two drives, setting the tone early for Tampa Bay. The second of which was a methodical 59-yard touchdown drive that tied the game at seven. Mayfield hit his go-to target, Chris Godwin, multiple times on the possession and it became only fitting that No. 14 came away with a touchdown tally on the stat sheet. Mayfield hit Godwin on an 11-yard touchdown strike in the back of the end zone. The Ravens were in zone coverage and before the defenders could swarm Godwin, it was too late. Mayfield found the open window and delivered a dart to Godwin before the Ravens' crew could swarm. Mayfield looked poised and confident, completing all six of his passes for 38 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. In two preseason games (Mayfield did not play against the Jets in New Jersey), Mayfield completed 14 of 15 passes for 105 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a sensational 135.4 passer rating. 

"I'm extremely comfortable with where we are offensively right now," said Mayfield after the game. "I think you guys saw the kind of groove that [Offensive Coordinator] Dave [Canales] got into playcalling-wise…and not just Dave but everybody understanding the flow of our game and what we're trying to accomplish. I think we could have run 20 play-action keepers but we wouldn't have gotten anything done in the run game. We did all the little things right today, on that second drive especially."

Receiver Rotation Turns up Heat 

The Buccaneers underwent a shuffle at wide receiver after Russell Gage Jr. suffered a season-ending knee injury during a joint practice with the Jets during preseason Week Two. In his absence, several young players have stepped forward, including rookie Trey Palmer. Palmer, a sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska, has continued to carve out his role with the Bucs, compiling highlight-reel catches between the hash marks. Saturday night against the Ravens, Palmer continued the trend with two catches for 25 yards. Although those numbers may seem underwhelming, the key is quality over quantity. Palmer made another dazzling, leaping grab over a defender, which set up a wide-open David Wells touchdown out of the flat. Defenses are beginning to account for the threat of Palmer's speed on vertical routes, but also off sweeps, motions and reverses, creating advantageous matchups for teammates. Additionally, Palmer had a 29-yard punt return that set up positive field position before halftime. David Moore, a veteran pickup during free agency, made an impact with four catches for 30 yards. He continuously moved the chains for Tampa Bay and undrafted rookie Rakim Jarrett, led the unit with 48 yards on four receptions. Jarrett has continued to make a compelling case for one of the Bucs' final roster spots and on Saturday, he once again displayed his yards-after-catch ability and route-running precision. Mayfield has praised his ability to stay "grounded through the catch" and Jarrett's stock continues to rise, with Saturday's performance as the latest piece of evidentiary support. 

Run Game Prowess 

The Bucs rendered the league's worst-ranked rushing attack last season but Saturday sparked optimism. In the preseason finale, Tampa Bay ran for 158 yards on 33 carries, signifying the most rushing yards in a preseason game for the Bucs since their meeting with the Jaguars in 2016. As the offense continues to vie for balance, Saturday provided a glimmer of hope. Starting running back Rachaad White gained 39 yards on seven carries, averaging 5.6 yards per tote and showcased vision, balance, smooth jump-cuts, change-of-direction burst and lethal spin moves. He spearheaded the charge and undrafted rookie Sean Tucker ran for 34 yards, displaying speed, punch on the gridiron and smooth downhill cuts. For an offense seeking revitalization, Saturday became a positive step forward. 

"I think the easiest way to put it is, you just put the defense on their heels," Mayfield described. "You make the run game look just like your play-action, and vice versa. It just keeps them off balance. We're not reinventing the wheel with our scheme. Just [formation-wise] and personnel-wise we're able to get in and out of the huddle and do a lot of things and be pretty versatile. Guys understand that we have to have both the run game and the pass game to succeed."

McLaughlin Shines 

The Buccaneers made a final decision at kicker earlier in the week with the release of Rodrigo Blankenship. That move cemented the obvious: Chase McLaughlin had won Tampa Bay's kicking job. That decision proved to be wise, as McLaughlin drilled all four of his field goal attempts on Saturday against the Ravens. He hit from 47, 27, 38 and 48 yards, in addition to making both extra point tries. Football is a game of inches with a small margin of error. History will attest that kickers have the power to sway the outcome of games. Saturday night was a positive outing for McLaughlin, as he showcased his leg power.

Related Content

Latest Headlines