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Takeaways from Buccaneers-Packers | Week 15

Top observations from the Buccaneers 34-20 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 15


On the historic Lambeau Field in Wisconsin, Bucs' Baker Mayfield put up a legendary performance on the grass in Week 15. Mayfield carved up the Packers' defense, completing 22-of-28 passing attempts for 381 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for a perfect passer rating of 158.3, becoming the first visiting player to record a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field. The 34-20 win cemented the Bucs' placement atop the NFC South. Tampa Bay remains in a tie for first with the New Orleans Saints, who beat the New York Giants on Sunday and also improved to 7-7. Although Mayfield lost a fumble in the first quarter and was sacked five times, he embodied the team's "must-win" mantra and took command of the game with a fiery disposition.

"From a mental standpoint to a quarterback standpoint, making plays," said Head Coach Todd Bowles of Baker Mayfield's growth this season. "From a toughness standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, he has done everything. He has checked all of the boxes. He is doing all of the right things now and I cannot say enough about him."

Offensive Onslaught

The Buccaneers produced a season-high 452 yards of offense, including 99 on the ground. Chris Godwin became the catalyst over the middle of the field, posting 155 receiving yards (third-highest total of his career) on 10 receptions. Rachaad White eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage for the fourth-consecutive game. Baker Mayfield threw touchdown passes to four different weapons: Mike Evans, Rachaad White, Ko Kieft and David Moore. He spearheaded three touchdown drives on three-straight possessions in the second half that shifted the momentum in favor of the visiting team. The success of the run game over the previous three weeks opened up the playbook for Dave Canales against the Packers, stimulating play-action and RPOs. On Sunday, White made his presence felt in the early script and on the final possession. On the opening drive, White gained 24 yards over the middle on an angle route working Quay Walker. On the latter, White found the hole and squeezed through traffic for a critical first down on fourth-and-two. On the next play, he iced the win with a 22-yard gain to the Green Bay 11-yard line. He cut-back to the edge and quickly accelerated north-south, setting up the ensuing victory formation.

Mayfield threaded the needle against the Packers, including a tight window dart to Mike Evans in the second quarter that led to a 15-yard gain. Preston Smith dropped back in coverage, but Mayfield hit Evans with precision to continue the drive. On the 52-yard touchdown by David Moore in the fourth quarter, Mayfield showcased his 'gunslinger' prowess once again. Moore lined up as the inside slot receiver and Evans ran the out-breaker. Following Moore's quick release, Mayfield delivered the ball in stride as De'Vondre Campbell drove on the ball. Moore caught the ball and exploded, taking it to the house to provide the Bucs with a 34-20 cushion.

The Bucs regained a 10-7 lead in the second quarter with a touchdown to Evans. No. 13 utilized a lethal stutter-step maneuver at the stem, forcing the defensive back into a trail position. Evans angled towards the goal post to extend separation and Mayfield found him in the end zone as Evans got over the top. Then in the third quarter, a 15-yard screen by Godwin set up Rachaad White's 26-yard score. The motion put additional stress on the weakside linebacker and Mayfield threw the ball to White, sitting in zone. He cut-back inside and raced to the end zone to give the Bucs a 10-point lead. A great play design late in the third spurred the two-yard Ko Kieft touchdown. Mayfield connected with Cade Otton for a 22-yard gain. Canales dialed up a switch release with Payne Durham in a high-low scenario. Durham worked underneath and Otton continued upfield and Mayfield delivered a strike. The Bucs fired on all cylinders offensively, controlling the tempo of the game with four players finishing with over 40 yards.

Defensive Overview

Green Bay took its sole lead of the Week 15 matchup in the first quarter after a five-yard Tucker Kraft touchdown catch that followed a fumble recovery at the Bucs' four-yard line. Kraft initially chipped then hit a release on a screen for the score. Overall, Tampa Bay held the Packers to 321 yards of offense, including just 60 yards on 17 carries – with 43 of those yards coming on the Packers' opening drive by Aaron Jones. Love completed 29 of 39 passes for 284 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns. He was sacked twice, once by Anthony Nelson and a shared split between Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett on the other. Antoine Winfield Jr. led the charge with 10 tackles and a pass defensed while Lavonte David produced nine tackles, two tackles for loss, a split sack and a pass defensed.

Love's 17-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Reed in the third quarter briefly trimmed the deficit and put the Packers to within three points. Reed made an incredible play and managed to drag both feet before going out of bounds for the score in the back of the end zone. However, the Bucs rallied back and two touchdowns for Mayfield secured the win for Tampa Bay. David played an integral role on Sunday whether flying across the formation to force an incompletion against a Packers' empty set or sifting through gaps untouched to drop rushers. He personified an ageless wonder. With just over four minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Bucs' defense put their stamp on the game. Barrett and David applied pressure on Love and Barrett knocked the ball out. The long-developing routes by the Packers' receivers caused Love to hold onto the ball a tick longer and Todd Bowles' aggressive unit took advantage. Logan Hall recovered the football, solidifying Tampa Bay's win on the road.

Highlight: Chris Godwin

Chris Godwin made a significant impact down the seam to move the chains for Tampa Bay on Sunday. Whether it was an out-breaking route, shallow crosser or a screen, Godwin became the cheat code working over the middle against the Packers' heavy use of zone coverage. He showcased his dynamic ability out of the slot with the ball in his hands. Godwin displayed his physicality in space and exploited off coverage.  He averaged 15.5 yards per reception, setting the tone on offense. He reinvigorated the passing attack by winning at the catch point and picking up run-after-catch yards with wiggle.

"The guy is just so consistent, man," said Baker Mayfield on Godwin. "I can't say enough about him. A true stud. A true professional. He has never complained. He has never done any of that. Just has done everything he needs to do. Today he was balling. Just some clutch catches, that's for sure. He didn't get in the endzone but was definitely the guy to keep the chains moving consistently today and set up everybody else. So, I couldn't be happier for Chris."

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