Baker Mayfield Claps Back at Lions’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Baker Mayfield

Getty Baker Mayfield made a comeback to C.J. Johnson-Gardner's trash talking.

Let the trash talking begin between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.

It started with Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson taking a verbal shot at Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offense. Mayfield had his own comeback to what Johnson said.

“This group probably is one of the better groups we done faced all year, besides that Tampa group,” Gardner-Johnson told reporters via the Detroit Free Press. “If you give that Tampa group a good quarterback, that’s a great group. Evans, Godwin, [Russell] Gage, that’s a great group. I played against them for real.”

Mayfield challenged Gardner-Johnson’s point and corrected the safety’s glaring mistake — Gage’s season-ending injury from August 2023. The Buccaneers quarterback also hasn’t looked average, especially after three touchdowns and more than 300 yards to lead his team into Saturday’s NFC Divisional Round showdown.

“I don’t think he’s really watched film because he mentioned Russell Gage,” Mayfield told the media on Wednesday. “You know, we love Russell, but Russell hasn’t played a snap all year for us. He must be going off the preseason stuff the media was talking about, but he didn’t play our first game.”

Detroit got the upper hand in that first meeting, 20-6. Mayfield didn’t have his best game, but he welcomes the challenge of watching for Gardner-Johnson, who co-led the NFL in interceptions for 2022. 

“I’m excited to see him. I think he’s a really good player. He has been for a while. He’s been an impactful guy on every team he’s been on, so he’s a good player, but he’s got to do a little bit more film study,” Mayfield added.

Baker Mayfield: ‘Loudest Thing They Ever Heard’

Mayfield, who played for the Los Angeles Rams at the tail end of the 2022 season, took a few tips from his old team after the Lions ousted the Rams 24-23 in the Wild Card round on Sunday. He knows well how loud of an environment to expect at Ford Field in Detroit.

“Just talking to some of those Rams guys, they said it was the loudest thing they’ve ever heard, so we’ve got to be completely ready for that,” Mayfield said. 

Ford Field seats 65,000 in a domed stadium for a fan base that will see their first Divisional Round home game since 1992. The Lions fans roared to a record level of 133.6 decibels, but the Rams only committed four penalties in the process.

“It just comes down to everybody knowing exactly what our game plan is — all the calls to and from because there could be certain times they might not hear certain things,” Mayfield said. “They might have to plug and play some of the words. So just everybody doing the mental work to get prepped for that, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to us. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

“I think road games kind of fit the mold and the identity of this team – backs against the wall in a different environment just only counting on each other. I think it fits who we are,” Mayfield added.

‘Backyard Ball’ for Baker Mayfield

With the loud environment and a staunch Lions defense, Mayfield may need to improvise often as he did on a 23-yard touchdown late in the Philadelphia Eagles game on Monday. Mayfield explained the play to wide receiver Chris Godwin that one reporter described as “backyard ball”.

“We had one play called, and said, ‘alright, we’re going to come out of this timeout, expect some pressure’, and they gave us that look,” Mayfield said. “So [I] checked the protection, and Chris did a great job. It’s one-on-one ball for the three guys who were running routes, and he did a good job just looking up and finding it. So not exactly a perfect throw by any means but a great play by him.”