The Buffalo Bills outlasted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football 24-18. The contest wasn’t remarkable for any one thing, but it was noteworthy for several reasons. One of the most talked about plays of the game actually came right at the end when quarterback Baker Mayfield nearly pulled off a perfect Hail Mary attempt.
— NFL (@NFL) October 27, 2023
The victory by the Bills kept them in the AFC East division race, which — no offense, Jets fans — is turning into a two-horse race with the Miami Dolphins. Miami currently has the better record, but Buffalo does have a victory head-to-head, meaning their next matchup will go a long way in deciding who ultimately wins the AFC East.
As for the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay began the season 2-0 before dropping four of its last five contests. The Bucs are still in the chase for the NFC South title, but they’ll be fighting until the end of the season. And if one incompletion went the other way, that climb would be a little easier.
Baker Mayfield and the NFL World React to Hail Mary Attempt
The Buccaneers didn’t play poorly in this contest but lacked offensive cohesiveness. QB Baker Mayfield was constantly dumping the ball off to the running back in the passing game and could not get the ball to alpha receiver Mike Evans.
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay fans, the Buccaneers’ final TD drive was so methodical that it took up most of the fourth quarter. When the Buccaneers eventually forced the Bills to punt, there was little time left on the clock. Mayfield uncorked a Hail Mary on the game’s final play that landed in the end zone a foot away from receiver Chris Godwin.
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Following the game, football fans left thinking, “What might have been?” Hail Marys to end games are a low-percentage play and are rarely converted, but we don’t often see a well-thrown pass land in the end zone without at least a player on either side of the ball touching it.
Post-game, Mayfield discussed the throw and how close the team came to the massive upset.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” Mayfield said. “It just shows we are a few plays away. We have the fight. Now we just have to have the execution.”
Head coach Todd Bowles echoed the same sentiments as Mayfield: “I thought everybody fought their tails off tonight. The effort wasn’t our problem. We hung together, we were tough, we clawed, we scratched, we fought our way back in there,” the Tampa Bay coach said.
“We were right there — a few plays here or there, a few penalties here or there — we feel like we can get better from that.”
Fans were obviously quick to react, with many pointing out just how open Godwin was to make the play. “IT WAS RIGHT THERE,” one social media user wrote.
Another user used the opportunity to compliment Mayfield for the throw, saying: “Perfectly thrown ball, should have been caught!”
If he would have turned around just a fraction of a second later, he would have caught that ball. Wow.
— Mr. Football 🏈 𝕏 (@Raldi616) October 27, 2023
Had Godwin turned his head around a split-second sooner, he might have had the time to adjust and catch the football. The football world would have gone bonkers. The Bills would’ve inexplicably blown a two-score lead, would be on a two-game skid heading into next week, and the Buccaneers would be in first place in their division.
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