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Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield provides solid performance against Steelers as Kyle Trask feels pressure

Round 1 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterback competition ended how training camp began -- with Baker Mayfield in the pole position over Kyle Trask.

The more experienced signal-caller put together a solid stat line in four drives of work, connecting on 8 of 9 passes for 63 yards, a touchdown and a 132.9 passer rating. Trask enjoyed the same exact offensive line alignment but saw far more pressure, taking three sacks on the way to finishing 6-of-10 passing for 99 yards, one interception and a 53.8 passer rating.

Coach Todd Bowles kept things neutral while reviewing the quarterbacks, telling reporters after the game he was "satisfied" with Mayfield's outing.

"He was composed," Bowles said, per The Sporting News. "He did a good job running the offense. He made the plays he was supposed to make."

About Trask, the head coach maintained a similar line: "I thought Kyle made some good throws as well and he commanded the offense just the same."

Although all indications have been that the competition between Mayfield and Trask has tightened during the two-plus weeks of camp, and Bowles communicated positive takeaways for both Friday night, the results and eye test tilt toward the former No. 1 overall pick.

Mayfield's night started off slow -- the Bucs came out running on three straight plays before a false start on fourth-and-1 convinced them to punt rather than go for it on their 34-yard line -- but he looked to be a safe option behind center when he did start making throws.

He did lead his share of dead-end drives, with three of his four possessions accounting for just 12 combined snaps, but he also extended plays with his feet where Trask sometimes did not and struggled to take care of the football, which had reportedly been an issue for him in practice.

Mayfield will be able to hang his hat on his third and longest drive, a nine-play 59-yard journey that ended on a ball lofted perfectly over the reaching fingertips of Steelers cornerback James Pierre into the hands of a toe-touching Trey Palmer at the back line of the end zone.

It wasn't an electric night for Mayfield by any means, but he looked to be a quarterback who can keep Tampa Bay in games, provided the defense remains a strength in the season ahead.

Trask entered the contest in the middle of the second quarter and played four drives of his own with little success to show for it. The Buccaneers were held scoreless in his time commanding the huddle, and Trask seemed in a fight for his life against the rush despite enjoying the same protectors as Mayfield.

"They both had the same type of play," Bowles said. "They both had the same guys in there, receivers and offensive line-wise."

The third-year QB saw pressure on 38.5% of his dropbacks compared to Mayfield's 11.1%, and that came across in their performances.

Trask's worst play of the outing, and one that highlights his inconsistency, occurred under that pressure. Four snaps after his best throw of the day, a 23-yarder to wide receiver David Moore, Trask stared down a double-covered target on third-and-19 before tossing an interception to defensive back Trenton Thompson at the first-down marker.

There's an argument that he was simply taking a shot, but such recklessness from his own 38 surrendered possession at midfield instead of engaging in the field-position battle with a punt. Mayfield didn't make such a mistake all night.

Trask will have first shot in the next round of the QB battle on Aug. 19, when he is slated to start against the Jets. For now, though, any of his momentum gained has stalled out like so many of Tampa Bay's drives.

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