EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Baker Mayfield might have won Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback job without even taking a snap in the Buccaneers’ 13-6 preseason victory over the New York Jets on Saturday night.
Mayfield was held out and remained on the sideline during Tampa Bay’s second preseason game — a possible sign he has moved ahead of Kyle Trask in the competition to open the season under center. Todd Bowles, who coached the Jets from 2015-18, hadn’t indicated before the game whether either quarterback had an advantage.
Trask, listed with Mayfield as the starter on the Buccaneers’ unofficial depth chart, led two scoring drives that gave Tampa Bay (1-1) a 10-6 halftime lead.
The third-year quarterback went 16 of 23 for 122 yards, including a 33-yard TD toss to rookie Trey Palmer, in the first half. But he had to re-enter the game with 1:03 left in the third quarter when third-stringer John Wolford was carted off the field and taken to the hospital with a neck injury.
Wolford was sacked by Jalyn Holmes and his head appeared to hit the turf with the Jets defensive lineman on top of him. He was strapped to a backboard and lifted onto a cart, and Wolford gave a thumbs off as he was being transported inside the stadium.
The Buccaneers announced Wolford had movement in his extremities and was being evaluated at the hospital. Wolford was 4 of 4 for 57 yards before he was injured.
Trask finished 20 of 28 for 218 yards and a TD after facing the Jets’ backups on defense.
Zach Wilson started for New York (1-2) and played the first half as he continues to get work in the preseason as the backup to Aaron Rodgers, who likely won’t make his Jets debut until the regular season opener on Sept. 11 against the Buffalo Bills.
Wilson was 9 of 13 for 70 yards, and had a dazzling 35-yard run in his two quarters before being replaced by third-stringer Tim Boyle in the second half.
Greg Zuerlein gave the Jets a 3-0 lead with a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
On New York’s next possession, Bam Knight — fighting for a spot behind Breece Hall and the recently signed Dalvin Cook in the backfield — fumbled when he was hit by J.J. Russell. Anthony Nelson recovered and the Buccaneers capitalized on the turnover with a 35-yarder by Rodrigo Blankenship to tie it.
Wilson threw a 26-yard pass to undrafted rookie Jason Brownlee in the second quarter. On the next play, the Jets quarterback spun out of a potential sack and took off — juking a few would-be tacklers — down the right sideline and stayed inbounds for a long gain that had his teammates fired up and tapping him on the top of the helmet.
The drive stalled from there, though, and New York settled for a 38-yarder from Zuerlein.
The Buccaneers took a 10-6 lead late in the first half on consecutive big plays.
Sean Tucker, an undrafted rookie out of Syracuse, zipped downfield for 27 yards on fourth-and-1 to put Tampa Bay on the Jets 32.
After a timeout by the Buccaneers, Trask reared back and tossed a pass into the end zone for Palmer, a sixth-rounder from Nebraska, who went up and tipped the ball to himself and came down with it for the go-ahead touchdown.
Buccaneers: LB K.J. Britt was ruled out late in the first half after injuring a hamstring.
Jets: Rookie RB Israel Abanikanda was carted from the sideline after injuring his right thigh in the fourth quarter. … TE Kenny Yeboah injured a hamstring. … Rookie OL Joe Tippmann injured a knee.
Buccaneers: Wrap up their preseason schedule by hosting the Baltimore Ravens next Saturday night.
Jets: Renew their annual preseason rivalry by facing the Giants in a “road” game at MetLife Stadium next Saturday night.