Bucs lose preseason game against Steelers


ABOVE: A look at the top storiesBaker Mayfield continued his bid to follow Tom Brady as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback and jumpstart his career with a solid, if not overly impressive preseason debut for the Buccaneers in a 27-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night.The competition between the 2018 No. 1 overall pick and Kyle Trask to win the starting job that opened when Brady retired after last season has been described as too close to call.Mayfield posted better statistics in 1½ quarters against the Steelers, however it’s always difficult to assess performances in outings during which starters from both teams play sparingly while coaching staffs take extended looks at backups and young players hoping to make the final roster. Steelers starter Kenny Pickett, who worked one series, completed six of seven passes for 70 yards on a 10-play, 83-yard drive and finished with a 33-yard TD throw to George Pickens. Pickett was sharp, but the Bucs only started one regular on defense.Mayfield, meanwhile, played without six starters on offense, including three veteran linemen and receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.Mayfield, who’s with his fourth team in two years, was 8 of 9 for 63 yards and one touchdown over five series against a mix of Pittsburgh starters and reserves.Just as important to coach Todd Bowles is the 28-year-old, who spent four seasons with Cleveland before making a combined 10 starts for Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams last year, didn’t turn the ball over.Trask, a 2021 second-round draft pick who appeared in just one regular-season game in two years as the No. 3 quarterback behind Brady and Blaine Gabbert, was sacked three times while going 6 of 10 for 99 yards with one interception. Mason Rudolph tossed a 67-yard TD pass to Calvin Austin III for Pittsburgh, which also used Mitchell Trubisky and Tanner Morgan.NIGHT OF RESTIn all, 21 players did not suit up for the Bucs, including 10 starters on offense and six on offense.In addition to linebackers Devin White, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, the entire defensive backfield of Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis III, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ryan Neal sat out.The lone projected starter who played was second-year defensive lineman Logan Hall.Offensively, Evans and Godwin were joined on the sideline by running back Rachaad White and veteran linemen Tristan Wirfs, Ryan Jensen and Matt Feiler.Rookie Calijah Kancey, a projected starter on the defensive line after being drafted in the first round out of Pitt, has been sidelined for a portion of training camp by a calf injury. INJURIESSteelers reserve linebacker Chapelle Russell (knee) left in the first half and did not return. Defensive tackle Keeanu Benton (ankle) departed in the second half.Buccaneers Don Gardner left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.UP NEXTSteelers: Host the Buffalo Bills next Saturday night. Buccaneers: Travel to New York for two days of joint practices before next Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets.

ABOVE: A look at the top stories

Baker Mayfield continued his bid to follow Tom Brady as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback and jumpstart his career with a solid, if not overly impressive preseason debut for the Buccaneers in a 27-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night.

The competition between the 2018 No. 1 overall pick and Kyle Trask to win the starting job that opened when Brady retired after last season has been described as too close to call.

Mayfield posted better statistics in 1½ quarters against the Steelers, however it’s always difficult to assess performances in outings during which starters from both teams play sparingly while coaching staffs take extended looks at backups and young players hoping to make the final roster.

Steelers starter Kenny Pickett, who worked one series, completed six of seven passes for 70 yards on a 10-play, 83-yard drive and finished with a 33-yard TD throw to George Pickens.

Pickett was sharp, but the Bucs only started one regular on defense.

Mayfield, meanwhile, played without six starters on offense, including three veteran linemen and receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Mayfield, who’s with his fourth team in two years, was 8 of 9 for 63 yards and one touchdown over five series against a mix of Pittsburgh starters and reserves.

Just as important to coach Todd Bowles is the 28-year-old, who spent four seasons with Cleveland before making a combined 10 starts for Carolina and the Los Angeles Rams last year, didn’t turn the ball over.

Trask, a 2021 second-round draft pick who appeared in just one regular-season game in two years as the No. 3 quarterback behind Brady and Blaine Gabbert, was sacked three times while going 6 of 10 for 99 yards with one interception.

Mason Rudolph tossed a 67-yard TD pass to Calvin Austin III for Pittsburgh, which also used Mitchell Trubisky and Tanner Morgan.

NIGHT OF REST

In all, 21 players did not suit up for the Bucs, including 10 starters on offense and six on offense.

In addition to linebackers Devin White, Lavonte David and Shaquil Barrett, the entire defensive backfield of Jamel Dean, Carlton Davis III, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ryan Neal sat out.

The lone projected starter who played was second-year defensive lineman Logan Hall.

Offensively, Evans and Godwin were joined on the sideline by running back Rachaad White and veteran linemen Tristan Wirfs, Ryan Jensen and Matt Feiler.

Rookie Calijah Kancey, a projected starter on the defensive line after being drafted in the first round out of Pitt, has been sidelined for a portion of training camp by a calf injury.

INJURIES

Steelers reserve linebacker Chapelle Russell (knee) left in the first half and did not return. Defensive tackle Keeanu Benton (ankle) departed in the second half.

Buccaneers Don Gardner left in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Steelers: Host the Buffalo Bills next Saturday night.

Buccaneers: Travel to New York for two days of joint practices before next Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets.



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