Packers’ playoff hopes take a hit with 34-20 loss to Buccaneers
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Playing on a new team eager to reach the postseason, Baker Mayfield reversed his December fortunes at Lambeau Field.
Mayfield threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their third straight, 34-20 over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Bucs (7-7) kept pace atop the NFC South standings with the New Orleans Saints, who beat the visiting New York Giants.
“Just like we talked about, that playoff mentality, to come in here with one job in mind and find a way to win,” Mayfield said. “We did that.”
This was the third straight season in which Mayfield faced the Packers at Lambeau Field in December — each time for a different team. He threw four interceptions in Cleveland’s 24-22 Christmas Day loss to the Packers in 2021 and was Los Angeles’ starter when the Rams fell 24-12 last Dec. 19.
Mayfield was sacked five times Sunday, just as he was in those other Lambeau Field appearances. But he otherwise was far more successful, going 22 of 28 and posting a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
“The third time’s a charm, that’s for sure,” said Mayfield, who grew up rooting for former Packers quarterback Brett Favre.
Mayfield threw touchdown passes of 19 yards to Mike Evans, 26 yards to Rachaad White, 2 yards to Ko Kieft and 52 yards to David Moore.
Chris Godwin had 10 catches for 155 yards. White rushed for 89 yards and had two catches for 50 yards.
Green Bay (6-8) lost its second straight to deal its playoff hopes a major blow. Jordan Love was 29 of 39 for 284 yards with touchdown passes to Tucker Kraft and Jayden Reed.
But the Packers’ defense had no answers for Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 who has rejuvenated his career while playing for his fourth team.
“They came in and they whooped us in every phase — outcoached us, outplayed us,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “It’s disappointing.”
Mayfield picked apart Green Bay’s defense one week after the Packers lost 24-22 to the New York Giants by allowing a late drive that resulted in Randy Bullock’s game-winning field goal as time expired.
LaFleur was asked after Sunday’s loss whether he’d consider replacing defensive coordinator Joe Barry during the season.
“Now’s not the time for that, to be honest with you,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur later added, “I’m trying to find solutions. I’ve got to go back and take a look at the film.”
After going 14 of 29 each of the last two weeks, Mayfield opened the game with seven straight completions and later threw touchdown passes on Tampa Bay’s first three second-half possessions. The Bucs concluded their fourth and final second-half drive by taking a knee at the Green Bay 11-yard line.
Mayfield lost a fumble at his own 4-yard line to set up a first-quarter touchdown for Green Bay, but that was pretty much the only mistake he made. A week earlier, Mayfield threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cade Otton with 31 seconds left in a 29-25 victory at Atlanta.
“He’s meant everything, from a mental standpoint to a quarterback standpoint making plays, from a toughness standpoint, from a leadership standpoint,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “He’s done everything. He’s checked all the boxes. He’s doing all the right things now. I can’t say enough about him.”
Mayfield drove the Bucs into position for Chase McLaughlin’s 46-yard field goal just before halftime that put Tampa Bay ahead at the break. After Tampa Bay forced a three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, the Bucs extended their lead to 20-10 on Mayfield’s touchdown pass to White.
Green Bay answered on its next series as Love scrambled and found Reed in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard gain on third-and-15. Tampa Bay answered as Kieft scored on his first catch of the season.
After the Packers cut the lead to 27-20 on Anders Carlson’s 33-yard field goal with 10:04 left, Mayfield threw a short pass that Moore turned into a 52-yard touchdown. It was Moore’s first TD since 2020, when he played for Seattle.
Moore’s touchdown came on third-and-4. Tampa Bay was 7 of 11 on third-down conversions and 1 of 1 on fourth down.
“We saw things on film and we executed,” Evans said. “If we can continue to be good on those money downs and in the red zone, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Bucs: CB Carlton Davis (groin) and DL William Gholston (knee/ankle) didn’t play.
Packers: Reed hurt his toe in the second half. … CB Jaire Alexander (shoulder) missed a sixth straight game and WR Christian Watson (hamstring) sat out a second straight. S Darnell Savage (shoulder) also didn’t play.
Buccaneers: Host Jacksonville next Sunday.
Packers: Visit Carolina next Sunday.