The Buccaneers heard the noise. And it fueled them.
They're supposed to fall apart now that Tom Brady has moved on. In their first game post-Tommy, they upset the Vikings and moved to 1-0.
"It's kind of been the motto for us the whole offseason through training camp," quarterback Baker Mayfield told PFT by phone regarding the team's mindset in response to low external expectations. "I mean, I think you guys see the narrative on the outside of what everybody's picking against us. We know the talent and the group that we have within the locker room. That's the most important part. So we'll take a road win to open the season no matter what, especially in an environment like that."
Indeed they will. It was the home opener. Throwback uniform day. They honored Bud Grant. Or at least they tried to.
It looked like it would be an easy win for the Vikings, especially since Mayfield and the offense started slowly. He explained how and why things changed late in the first half, when the Buccaneers tied the game at 10.
"We just had to get into some tempo," Mayfield said. "It doesn't make it any easier when you're in an environment like that, so loud trying to communicate. So we just got a little up tempo there right before halftime. We were able to get a drive going and hit Mike [Evans] on a touchdown and that's really what sparked it was just our guys settled in at that point. Nobody was playing uptight. Got that done and then just put a couple drives together."
It helped that the defense throttled Minnesota's offense in the second half, sparked by an interception as the Vikings were driving to take a halftime lead.
The Tampa Bay offense controlled the ball in the second half, and Mayfield at times flashed some fire. He stiff-armed Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. It looked like things got a little nasty, but they didn't.
"Just some friendly words exchanged," Mayfield said. "Byron and I are good. I talked to him after the game. I'm happy for him getting a better situation there in Minnesota. No, just friendly competition there."
Later in the game, Mayfield rumbled for a first down on the ground to convert a key third and two. He had no hesitation about throwing caution to the wind.
"I've got to go get that no matter what," Mayfield said.
He did. And the Bucs did, moving to 1-0 in the first game after Tom Brady in a spot that seemed to point clearly to a Vikings win.