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49ers provide insights on Baker Mayfield, Buccaneers ahead of Week 11 clash

Nov 16, 2023 at 9:25 AM--

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After enduring a three-game losing streak that raised questions about the team's championship viability, the San Francisco 49ers are determined not to underestimate any opponent moving forward. That includes this weekend's opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who, like San Francisco, broke a lengthy losing streak in Week 10 and look to maintain momentum at Levi's Stadium on Sunday.

Defensive end Nick Bosa reflected on the team's mindset, stating, "I think we learned our lesson. I don't think we got complacent or anything, but it is human nature to think about your opponent and what opportunities you might have, what strengths and weaknesses they have. But we just need to not so much look at our opponent, but look at ourselves and make sure that we're playing as good as we can."

When asked what he respects about the Buccaneers, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan responded, "I respect that I think they have a chance to win every game they play in. That's why they had a good record to start."

Tampa Bay started the season 3-1 before losing four consecutive contests. This past Sunday, they rebounded with a 20-6 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

"I know they lost a couple of tight ones, coming back with a big one last week," Shanahan continued. "I think they make it very tough to run the ball against. I think [S Antoine] Winfield [Jr.] and [NT] Vita Vea are two of the best players in what they do."

Shanahan added, "You can never fall asleep on [WR] Mike Evans. He's as scary now as he was 10 years ago."

Linebacker Fred Warner has also been impressed with Evans, who is in his 10th NFL season and on pace for his 10th 1,000-yard season. The linebacker praised Evans' burst and longevity, saying, "What the heck is he doing over there? I need to ask him after the game what kind of treatments he's doing."

Shanahan will be weary of the Buccaneers' defensive front, which boasts the third-highest blitz rate in the NFL at 37.9 percent. The coach knows his offense has to be prepared for pressure on every play.

"You don't know where Vita's going to be on third down, but when he is pushing the center inside, it's a problem," Shanahan said. "Whoever he's pushing is a problem. They've had some pretty good success with their edge rushers too that get to the quarterback."

Shanahan won't sleep on journeyman Baker Mayfield, either. He is the third consecutive former No. 1 draft pick the 49ers will face.

Shanahan noted, "I've got a lot of respect for Baker and how he plays the position. So, I think they're a good team."

Mayfield's season performance, completing 64.6 percent of his passes for 2,143 yards, 14 touchdowns, and five interceptions, has not gone unnoticed by the 49ers. His 93.7 passer rating is his highest since 2020.

"Baker, great quarterback," said defensive end Chase Young. "Played him in college. He can go. He's a great quarterback, so we have to do everything in our power just to pay attention to details and take care of our job."

Upon reviewing the film, many Buccaneers players stick out to Warner, including Mayfield.

"I think Baker's playing at a really high level right now," Warner stated. "I think guys probably didn't expect him going into the Bucs to play as great as he's playing, but he's playing really well, getting the ball to his playmakers. I was surprised to see how well the running back (Rachaad White) has been playing. I think he has like 35 catches over 300 yards, which is incredible."

Warner continued, "But yeah, their whole offense looks really good, really explosive. I know they're going to want to get the run game going to open up the play-action game and get some of those explosive passes down the field to 13 (Evans) and 14 (WR Chris Godwin), so we got a big challenge on our hands."

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