MINNEAPOLIS — Lavonte David dishes out punishing hits, but he isn’t used to receiving them.
But that’s what happened in the second half of Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Vikings, when the Pro Bowl linebacker collided with defensive tackle Vita Vea.
David went to the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium as if he had been knocked out. But he was able to leave under his own power and returned after clearing a test for a concussion.
“Man, it’s all love,” David said. ”It’s football. You know, Vita was flying to the ball, and that’s what I love about him. Guys that big, you don’t get that many guys flying to the ball like that. So, that’s my first time getting hit by friendly fire, too. I usually avoid those. I wish I would’ve avoided this one.”
David, 33, returned on a one-year, $4.5 million contract as a free agent to play his 12th season for the Bucs.
He was all over the field Sunday, recording eight tackles, including two for loss. Fellow linebacker Devin White led the Bucs with 12 tackles, one for a loss.
Both players briefly had to leave the game. White went out for a few plays in the first half with a right leg injury but returned.
“He went out, I went out,” David said. “We always have this little battle just trying to play every snap.
“I came out after my evaluation. I came out great. We’re just going to see how (Monday) goes.”
After the Bucs took the lead on Chase McLaughlin’s 57-yard field goal with just over five minutes remaining, the defense forced the Vikings to go three-and-out. They never got the football again.
“That’s complementary football,” David said. “Our ‘A’ players played like ‘A’ players (Sunday).”
Homecoming (of sorts) for Mauch
Having grown up and played college football in North Dakota, the game was something of a homecoming for right guard Cody Mauch. Which was just one more thing bouncing around his head as the second-round draft pick made his first NFL start at a venue, U.S. Bank Stadium, that is vexing even for veterans.
“I was relaxed but nervous, if that makes sense,” Mauch said. “I was ready to go, kind of locked in. But it’s still your first NFL start, and you know it’s going to be a loud, good atmosphere. So I was maybe a little bit nervous, but after the first play the nerves go away.”
Mauch knew a bunch of his fans were sitting in Section 310 wearing his old school colors and wanted to acknowledge them but admitted nerves got the best of him. “I tried right when I got out there,” he said, “but then I kind of forgot about it.”
‘Skol’ chant excites Bucs
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U.S. Bank Stadium is one of the loudest in the NFL, and Vikings fans have taken pride in the deafening “Skol” chant during key defensive downs.
Despite the noise, the Bucs did not have any pre-snap penalties on offense.
“I love playing here, for sure,” linebacker Shaquil Barrett said. “I love going in opposing stadiums and hearing the crowd as loud as their crowd was.”
Safety Antoine Winfield Jr.’s dad played for the Vikings. He said the whole family was at the game.
“Once I saw the schedule and saw we open up up here in Minnesota, I said, ‘Oh, boy, we’re ready to rock and roll,’” Winfield said.
“Every game I’ve got that same mindset, but especially this game.”
Brady vs. Mayfield
You didn’t think we would let this game pass without bringing up a Tom Brady comparison, did you?
In his Tampa Bay debut on Sept. 13, 2020, Brady completed 23 of 36 passes for two touchdowns and two interceptions for 239 yards and 78.4 passer rating. Baker Mayfield on Sunday completed 21 of 34 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions for 173 yards and a 94.4 passer rating. Also, Brady lost 34-23 to the Saints.
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