Kevin Sabitus/Getty ImagesTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield will play next Sunday at the Carolina Panthers despite suffering a ribs injury late in his team’s 23-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints yesterday, per head coach Todd Bowles to reporters.
Greg Auman @gregaumanTodd Bowles said Baker Mayfield will be able to play this week despite taking a shot to the ribs late in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. X-rays negative, he’s sore but will be able to play.
A win will clinch the NFC South for the Bucs, who are looking to make their fourth straight playoff appearance.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine explained how the injury occurred to Mayfield.
“Mayfield took a late hit from safety Tyrann Mathieu in the Bucs’ 23-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Mayfield was injured on the two-point conversion play that followed a 47-yard touchdown to Chris Godwin when Mathieu collided hard with Mayfield’s upper body and midsection. Mathieu’s hit drew a roughing the passer penalty.
“Mayfield winced in pain when teammates hugged him, but he did not leave the game, going back out for a redo of the two-point attempt because of offsetting penalties due to an illegal touch pass penalty on Godwin. When Mayfield went to the sideline afterward, he knelt down because of the pain. During postgame media availability, he moved gingerly through the locker room.”
Mayfield didn’t seem concerned about the possibility of the injury preventing him from playing Sunday.
“It’ll get easier throughout the week,” Mayfield said, per Laine. “The first few days are always the worst. I’ve had a few broken ribs here and there and obviously … nothing showed to that extent as of right now, so yeah, I’ll be able to deal with it and go from there.”
Mayfield has been exceptional in his first year as the Bucs’ starter, completing 64.4 percent of his passes for 28 touchdowns (10 interceptions) and 3,907 passing yards. He was scorching hot during the Bucs’ recent four-game winning streak to vault Tampa Bay into first with nine touchdowns (just one interception) and 1,010 passing yards.
Needless to say, the Bucs need Mayfield as they search for the division crown. They’ll be favored against the 2-14 Panthers on Sunday when kickoff goes down at 1 p.m. ET from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Bank of America Stadium.