Can you feel the magic? What magic you ask? FITZMAGIC of course! The Buccaneers came into this game against the Eagles as the underdogs again. Well the underdog Buccaneers beat the top dog Eagles by a score of 27-21. This game had a little bit of everything, explosive plays, sacks, missed kicks, and for the second straight week for both teams, a nail biter. This time it was the same result for the Buccaneers, but a bit different result for the Eagles. As I said earlier, this game had a little bit of everything so lets break it down.
How they started
The Eagles won the opening toss and deferred and well, maybe they wish they hadn’t. The Bucs offense took the field and on the first play from scrimmage, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back and threw a bomb to Desean Jackson who, after a view swift moves, ended up getting in the endzone for 6. There could not have been a better way to start a game than the way the Bucs did. This team in the past has gotten off to slow starts and it has hurt them. This season however, has been the complete opposite. Last week, they started off by throwing a bomb to Jackson and this week, the same thing. It really is surprising that this team can do this now when they had struggled with it for years. Kudos to Todd Monken, who called yet another great game. Now, lets get back to the action. The rest of the 1st quarter was a pure defensive battle. Both teams were getting pressure on the QBs and it made things difficult for either offense to get things going. The 2nd quarter came around and the Eagles started to get into a rhythm on offense. After dinking and dunking down the field, the Eagles were able to get on the board after a 15 yard touchdown run by Corey Clement and things were now all tied up. The Bucs got the ball and what do they do? They called a timeout. It was what happened after that timeout that was exciting. Fitzpatrick threaded the needle to tight end O.J. Howard and him and his blockers did the rest. It ended up being a 75 yard touchdown and just like that, the Bucs were on the board again. A missed extra point by Chandler Catanzaro made the game 13-7 in favor of the Bucs. The Bucs were then able to make the Eagles punt the ball again. The Buccaneer offense came out and had a 6 play, 70 yard drive that ended with Fitzpatrick finding a wide open Chris Godwin for 6 points. This time the PAT was good and the score was 20-7. The Eagles however, got the ball back with some time and were able to work their way into a 42 yard field goal attempt for Jake Elliot that went doink off the upright.
At the half
The Bucs were controlling the entire game at the half, the offense was flowing well again, the defense was actually getting pressure on Foles and the Bucs were playing some pretty good coverage in the secondary. The first half was great, but would it continue? The Eagles are the defending super bowl champs of course, they won’t go away without a fight. The Bucs gave themselves a nice cushion, but that does not mean they should take their foot off the gas pedal.
How they finished
The Eagles got the ball to start the second half and were able to get it close to midfield when they faced a big decision, they ended up going for it on 4th down. Needing just 4 yards, they threw a short pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the flat and Ertz got close to getting the first down, but Lavonte David was able to stop him just short and it was a huge turnover on downs for the Bucs defense. The Bucs used the short field to their advantage and scored a big touchdown. Fitzpatrick was able to make a great read and find Mike Evans for the touchdown. Each team then would trade drives that ended with punts. The Eagles then made the game interesting when they drove down the field and it ended with a 2 yard run by Jay Ajayi. Then the next drive had Bucs fans even more nervous. The Bucs were driving down the field when Fitpatrick threw the ball to Mike Evans for what would have been a 20 yard gain and gotten the Bucs into field goal range. Evans ended up doing too much and fumbled the ball. The Eagles got the ball back and the Bucs defense stepped up. They forced the Eagles into another 4th down situation and after a wild 4th down play, which ended up injuring Justin Evans and two other Eagles players. Bucs got the ball back and were forced to punt, all of the momentum was now on the Eagles side. Things got really interesting when the Eagles scored a touchdown on 4th and goal off of a great throw by Foles to Nelson Agholor. The score was now 27-21 and the Buccaneers were getting the ball back. Were the gonna blow this game? For the 2nd straight week, this one was gonna come down to the wire. The Bucs were able to get 2 first downs which ran some valuable time off the clock and forced the Eagles to use all of their timeouts. The Eagles got the ball back with 19 seconds and one last ditch effort. Foles threw the ball to an open receiver and he was tackled, they then spiked the ball and had one more play. They lateraled the ball a few times and the ball was eventually put on the ground and recovered by Lavonte David. Game over.
The Buccaneers earned this win. They simply played better than the defending super bowl champions. Fitzpatrick and the offense continue to light up the scoreboard and the defense was able to contain the Eagles offense. The Bucs trench play was very impressive, especially against an Eagles team that may have some of the best trench play in the NFL. The Buccaneers offensive line only gave up 1 sack and the defensive line was able to drop Foles 3 times, including one for a fumble. Impressive win for the Bucs, the Buccaneers fans deserve this, they have been through a lot over the past 10 years or so. Hey national media outlets, it is time to give this team some respect because they have definitely earned it.