The Philadelphia Eagles saw their Super Bowl dreams shattered on Monday night after an utterly dominant performance by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In a shocking turn of events, the once 10-1 Eagles collapsed down the stretch, losing 6 of their last 7 games to limp into the playoffs before being stomped 32-9 by Tom Brady and the Bucs.
First Half Doom and Gloom for Eagles
The game started as a defensive struggle, with both offenses sputtering early. But Tampa’s defense made the first big play, sacking Jalen Hurts and forcing a fumble which they recovered deep in Eagles territory. Several plays later, newly acquired Bucs QB Baker Mayfield hit tight end Cameron Brate for a 13 yard touchdown to put Tampa up 7-0.
The Eagles tried to respond, but more mistakes kept derailing their drives. First a sack pushed them out of field goal range, then a drop by WR A.J. Brown killed another drive. Meanwhile the Bucs offense started heating up, with Rachaad White ripping off a 44 yard run before Mayfield found Cade Otton wide open for a 6 yard TD late in the 2nd quarter. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni could only watch in frustration as his team went into halftime down 17-0.
Jalen Hurts: 8/18, 68 yards, 0 TD, 1 turnover
Baker Mayfield: 12/17, 172 yards, 2 TD
Eagles total yards: 68
Bucs total yards: 203
Bucs Pour it On, Eagles Wave White Flag
Things went from bad to worse quickly in the 2nd half. After another Eagles 3-and-out, Lavonte David picked off Hurts on the next drive which led to a Ryan Succop field goal. Down 20-0 midway through the 3rd quarter, the Eagles had clearly lost hope.
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles could sense the kill and went for the jugular. Mayfield led Tampa on an 89 yard drive, capped off by a 21 yard dart to Mike Evans for a TD. After the 2 point conversion Tampa led 29-0, the Eagles were dead in the water.
Baker Mayfield: 23/37, 337 yards, 3 Total TD
Jalen Hurts: 17/35, 205 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Rachaad White: 105 total yards
Mike Evans: 117 rec yards, 1 TD
The 4th quarter was extended garbage time, with the Bucs tacking on another field goal and keeping the clamps on defensively. The final whistle couldn’t come soon enough for the humbled Eagles, bringing a sudden and shocking end to a season that once held so much promise.
What Went Wrong for 10-1 Eagles?
So how did this happen? How did the Eagles go from Super Bowl contenders at 10-1 to limping out with a Wild Card embarrassment? Here’s how their shocking collapse occurred:
Injuries Mounted – The Eagles lost multiple key players down the stretch, including stud right tackle Lane Johnson, edge rusher Robert Quinn, CB Avonte Maddox and others. This eroded their depth and continuity.
Hurts Regressed – After an MVP-caliber first 3/4 of the season, Jalen Hurts fell off dramatically over the last month. He completed under 60% of his passes in 4 of his last 5 games, a big dropoff from his usual efficiency. Whether due to injury or opponents solving him, Hurts was not the same QB.
Defense Wilted – Philly’s defense got steamrolled over their last few games, giving up 30+ points in 4 of their last 6 contests. They sorely missed the pass rush of injured Robert Quinn and lost the big plays that defined their strong start. This unit looked overmatched against Tampa.
Talent Gaps Exposed – For much of 2022 the Eagles were able to overcome holes on their roster with brilliant coaching and scheming. But once the injuries hit late in the year their lack of difference-makers at key spots got exposed against top competition.
What’s Next for Eagles and Buccaneers?
The Eagles are left picking up the pieces after seeing their championship aspirations destroyed in such heartbreaking fashion. An autopsy will be done on this collapse, hard questions asked and changes likely made this offseason. The status of players like QB Jalen Hurts and coach Nick Sirianni seems somewhat uncertain in light of this disappointment. Sweeping changes could be in store.
Meanwhile for Tom Brady and the Bucs, they live to fight another day after this playoff triumph. Their imposing performance pushes concerns about Brady’s age and their pre-Mayfield offensive struggles into the rearview. They now advance to face the #1 seeded Detroit Lions next weekend, buoyed by growing belief that another Brady-led Super Bowl run could be in the cards.
So while the Eagles reflect on what could have been, the Bucs will ride high into Detroit on a wave of momentum. Their Super Bowl dreams remain alive thanks to Monday’s comprehensive thrashing of an Eagles team that forgot how to soar when it mattered most.
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