The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the win in Week 1 over the Minnesota Vikings, and the play of Baker Mayfield is a big reason why. It turns out that Mayfield had the Vikings’ defensive signals figured out by halftime, per his teammate Rachaad White.
In response, Mayfield fired a savage shot toward the Houston Astros, per Greg Auman of Fox Sports.
‘“I’m a Texas Rangers fan, not a Houston Astros fan,” Baker Mayfield says of talk that he picked up signals from the Vikings defense in Sunday’s opening win.’
The Astros were disciplined for stealing signs during their World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017. In turn, the Astros lost draft picks, had to pay a hefty $5 million fine, and saw managers suspended for being involved in the incident.
Mayfield is from Austin, Texas, so this was a perfect chance for him to take a shot at the Astros.
Rachaad White Admits Mayfield had Viking Defense Figured Out
Days after the Buccaneers’ win, White went on the radio and discussed the game and gave a stunning revelation into Mayfield’s awareness of the Vikings’ defense (h/t Mike McDaniel of Sports Illustrated).
“I just remember Bake came in the locker room literally at halftime and said, ‘I got it. We got all these signals. We’re in there talking as an offense and he’s like, ‘I know all these signals. If they do this, they’re going into Cover-2. If they do this, they’re going into Cover-3. Every time I alert this and they do this signal, they’re dropping back to this.’ And I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ … I was just listening to him and we were listening to him and we just kind of understood.”
So, Mayfield had the defense figured out, and his teammates listened. Fresh out of the half, Mayfield engineered a surgical 16-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass to Trey Palmer. Maybe Mayfield did have the Vikings defense figured out, although after that he didn’t have another touchdown pass.
White didn’t have much success of his own, finishing the day with just 39 yards rushing on 17 carries and two catches for 10 yards in a rather uneventful day for the new lead back.
The Vikings hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores as the defensive coordinator, and Minnesota allowed just 242 yards of offense. The Vikings face the Philadelphia Eagles and their dangerous offense in Week 2 on Thursday Night Football.
Baker Mayfield Did Nothing Wrong
Let’s get this straight: This isn’t stealing signs. It’s simply deciphering and figuring out what the defense is doing based on little things. And, Mayfield apparently had it figured out within the first two quarters.
On the other hand, the offense had fewer yards than the Vikings in every category except rushing but did manage to win the time of possession battle slightly (Tampa Bay had 30:39 and Minnesota had 29:21).
The Buccaneers now face the Chicago Bears in Week 2, who also have a strong defense, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Mayfield can continue and pick up the signals that the defense is putting down.