Buccaneers Plunder Eagles, Win NFC Wild Card, 32-9

Eagles continued their slide into misery, with a win #12 eluding them after starting the season 10-1.

An Uncle Rico Production

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers emphatically ended the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl aspirations with a 32-9 victory in the wild-card round on Monday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Baker Mayfield, playing in his first playoff game with the Buccaneers & third overall, joined the elite ranks of Tom Brady, being only the second passer in Buccaneers history to pass for over 300 yards in a playoff contest – a feat Brady achieved three times with the Buccaneers.

Key Takeaways from NFC Wild Card Game:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Eagles

Baker Mayfield, despite battling rib and ankle injuries, delivered a remarkable performance in yesterday’s NFC Wild Card game, completing 22 of 36 passes for 337 yards without any interceptions. He connected for three significant touchdowns, covering distances of 56, 44, and 23 yards. Meanwhile, head coach Todd Bowles’ defense showcased its strength, stifling Jalen Hurts with an oppressive blitz scheme, leading to a safety by linebacker Anthony Nelson in the third quarter.

This game was a stark contrast to their Week 3 encounter, where the Eagles defeated the Buccaneers by running over 200 yards. 

This time around, with the advantage of playing at home in the NFL Playoffs as the NFC South champions & No. 4 seed, the Buccaneers excelled on both offense & defense.

The Buccaneers’ defense was particularly effective, limiting the Eagles to 275 yards, sacking quarterback Jalen Hurts three times, and restricting them to only 41 rushing yards.

A notable aspect of the game was the Buccaneers’ ability to halt the Eagles’ offensive drives, with the Eagles failing to convert on nine third-down attempts and two fourth-down tries.

David Moore emerged as a standout performer, especially thanks to a 44-yard touchdown reception on a third-and-7 play in the first quarter. Moore ended the game with two catches totaling 66 yards.

However, the Buccaneers’ offense was not without issues, as they experienced several dropped passes in the first half.

Next Game for the Buccaneers: 

They face the Lions at 3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Eagles

The Eagles’ season ended in disappointment, marked by a string of losses that followed a strong 10-1 start. The challenges that surfaced towards the season’s end, including defensive weaknesses & inconsistent offense, were evident in their loss to the Buccaneers.

Philadelphia’s decline poses significant questions for the organization, including the future direction under head coach Nick Sirianni & quarterback Jalen Hurts’ development.

A critical moment in the NFC Wild Card game came late in the third quarter when Hurts, near his goal line on third-and-6, was penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone, leading to a safety. This extended the Buccaneers’ lead and set the stage for their subsequent touchdown.

The Eagles’ game plan seemed misaligned with their strengths, particularly in their underutilized rushing attack, which contrasted sharply with their strategy in the earlier matchup against the Buccaneers.

On a positive note, wide receiver DeVonta Smith continued to impress, achieving a unique milestone as the first Eagles player with 100 receiving yards in consecutive playoff games and joining Keith Jackson & Fred Barnett as one of the few with multiple 100-yard receiving games in the postseason. 

Unfortunately, old war horses like center Jason Kelce, tackle Lane Johnson, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and defensive end Brandon Graham may finally hit the stables for the rest of their days. They’re careers & veteran leadership have been crucial to the Eagles success, and will be damn near impossible to replace immediately.

Where do the Eagles go from here?

I’m all ears. Drop me some knowledge bombs, either in the comment section below or follow on social media:

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