The Buccaneers (4-6) turned the ball over on downs twice and Mayfield threw an interception in the fourth quarter as the San Francisco 49ers (7-3) won 27-14 on Sunday, November 19. Mayfield also fumbled once in the first half and took four sacks, but he finished with 246 yards and a touchdown on 29-45 passing.
“Just a one game mentality from here on out,” Mayfield told reporters afterward. “With a group that fights this hard, it’s too [expletive] hard not to think that we can control our own destiny.”
The Buccaneers only have opponents with losing records on the remaining schedule. Tampa Bay also sits one game behind the New Orleans Saints (5-5) in the NFC South, and the Buccaneers already have one win against the Saints this season.
For now, the Buccaneers are well aware of the gap between themselves and the NFC’s elite.
“It’s a loss first and foremost,” Mayfield said. “I’ve consistently said in these games … later in the game, we’ve continued to fight. That’s never changed.”
Baker Mayfield Owns Lost Fumble
“That’s a costly error. A mistake by me,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield responded afterward with a one-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Evans in the second quarter. The 49ers answered with a field goal and only took a 13-7 lead into the locker room.
After San Francisco built a 27-7 third quarter lead, the 49ers punted twice and turned it over on downs once in their own territory. The Buccaneers had the ball in the red zone twice during that stretch but couldn’t come up with a score.
“We had some good opportunities today that we didn’t exactly take advantage of,” Mayfield said. “So when you’re playing a team like that, you have to.”
Younger Receivers a Factor for Buccaneers
Tampa Bay’s longest drive of the fourth quarter consisted of a steady flow of completions from Mayfield to Evans and fellow star receiver Chris Godwin, who came shy of a touchdown on a tipped ball.
Evans finished with 5 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown while Godwin had 6 catches for 39 yards. Otherwise, younger receivers stepped up for the Buccaneers.
Mayfield hit rookie Rakim Jarrett on a 41-yard pass play. Tight end Cade Otton caught four passes for 49 yards, and he drew a pass interference penalty on the 49ers at the one-yard line. Rookie receiver Trey Palmer tallied 4 receptions for 22 yards.
“We had a lot of young guys who were stepping up in a big way today,” Mayfield said. “It just happens when you have two studs like we do. They’re going to try to take them away, and so it’s vital for those guys to be ready to get their opportunities to prepare, to know their assignments, to know the adjustments on coverages, and what we’re going to get.”