C.J. Gardner-Johnson didn’t let up on the trash talk against Baker Mayfield even after the Detroit Lions secured a playoff win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Lions emerged victorious with a 31-23 score at Ford Field in Detroit during the NFC divisional-round playoff game, and Gardner-Johnson played a crucial role by intercepting Mayfield’s pass on the Buccaneers’ first possession.
Gardner-Johnson’s interception was particularly noteworthy due to the banter that unfolded in the week leading up to the game. Known for his trash-talking prowess, Gardner-Johnson had previously slighted Mayfield while praising the Buccaneers’ receivers. He mentioned that Tampa Bay had a great group of receivers and added, “If you give that Tampa group a good quarterback, that’s a great group.” The implication was that he didn’t consider Mayfield a “good quarterback.”
In response, Mayfield took a diplomatic approach, pointing out that Gardner-Johnson included Russell Gage in his assessment despite Gage being injured. Mayfield commented, “I don’t think he’s really watched film because he mentioned Russell Gage. We love Russell but Russell hasn’t played a snap all year for us.”
After the Lions’ victory, Gardner-Johnson went on Instagram Live and continued his trash talk, laughing off the suggestion that he doesn’t watch film. He asserted that his interception is proof of his meticulous study of opponents.
Gardner-Johnson’s interception and the Lions’ win allowed him to have the last laugh as the team advanced to the conference championship game. The ongoing banter between Gardner-Johnson and Mayfield adds an extra layer of drama to their on-field encounters.