Bird Watch: Maclin, McNabb Shine in 33-14 Whooping of Buccaneers


Not many questioned whether the Eagles would be able to defeat the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but today’s Week 5 contest was quite satisfying. Despite some irritating and recurring penalty problems, the Philly Birds executed a fairly easy victory over the Bucs, scoring 33 points and causing multiple turnovers while on the defensive side of the ball. Overall, there wasn’t a whole alot of fierce competition by the Bucs, and therefore it seemed a lopsided matchup for most of the game, but the Eagles once again displayed great amounts of offensive explosiveness and defensive dominance.

Perhaps the biggest points of attention in this game were the return of QB Donovan McNabb and the potential break out chance for rookie starter Jeremy Maclin, who got the opportunity to play the team’s second receiver for the second week in a row due to typical starter Kevin Curtis’ injury struggles. Both of these focuses proved to be worthy of attention, for McNabb looked brilliant in his first action since the season’s opener, while Maclin recorded a sensational performance that included a pair of scores and nearly 150 receiving yards. These were only a few of the many excellent things to happen this afternoon, however, as there was plenty of quality plays and highlights to choose from.

The Week 5 showdown of NFC squads began with a sudden offensive attack by the Eagles, who completed a 51-yard pass for a touchdown following a good defensive stand. This deep score from McNabb to Maclin (which, by the way, was the freshman wideout’s first career TD) wthe lone “big play” that resulted in points for both sides, but the Birds played well on defense, pressuring young Bucs’ QB Josh Johnson and forcing him to throw inaccurately frequently.

In response to Tampa Bay beginning to generate some momentum on offense, the Birds played aggressively on a later defensive drive, recovering a fumble and returning it roughly 3/4 of the field’s distance for a remarkable touchdown. However, to the disappointment of the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, the play was ruled over at the line of scrimmage, and the Eagles were rewarded possession of the ball without the score. After several unsuccessful offensive series, the Eagles found the endzone again in the second period, when Donovan McNabb dumped a short screen pass to versatile FB Leonard Weaver, who drove it 20 yards down the field and tumbled over the goal-line, giving Philadelphia a 14-0 lead. Later in the quarter, after wearing the Eagles’ defense down with numerous short passing and running plays, the Buccaneers tacked 7 points on the scoreboard with a 9-yard TD pass to athletic TE Kellen Winslow, Jr. (who was listed in one of today’s “key matchups” in the game preview article). The final significant highlight of the first half came when Donovan McNabb found Jeremy Maclin for his second TD reception of the game, giving the Eagles a 14-point leading margin.

In the 3rd quarter, both teams experienced mixed results, but the Eagles once again came out the winner of the period. CB Asante Samuel notched his second interception of the game for the defense, and starting RB Brian Westbrook scurried up the middle of the field for a 7-yard touchdown, extending the Eagles’ lead to 21 points.

In the fourth and final quarter of the Week 5 game, K David Akers nailed a 44-yard field goal and DE Darren Howard tackled Bucs’ RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams in their own endzone for a safety. These Eagles scores overshadowed Tampa Bay’s last touchdown, another 9-yard completion from Josh Johnson to Kellen Winslow. All said and done, the Eagles came away with a crushing victory over the lowly Buccaneers, defeating the winless pewter pirates with 33 points over 14.

With their third win of the season, the Eagles now prepare to face a member of the AFC conference in the Oakland Raiders. This matchup will take place away from home for the Eagles, and will be played at approximately 4:05 p.m. ET.. Further analysis and evaluation of today’s game will be released throughout the week, but for now, take a look at the Eagles’ statistical leaders from the matchup, some of their key players, a scoring summary of the contest, and a look at some interesting things that you may have missed while viewing the game:

Statistical Leaders

Passing: Donovan McNabb (QB): 16-21, 264 yards, 3 TD

Rushing: Donovan McNabb (QB): 2-30 yards 

Receiving: Jeremy Maclin (WR): 6-142 yards, 2 TD

Receiving (cont.): Brent Celek (TE): 4-58 yards

Defensive: Trent Cole (DE): 7 tackles, 1 sack

Defensive (cont.): Asante Samuel (CB): 4 tackles, 2 interceptions

Kicking: David Akers (K): 1-1 FG, 4-4 extra point

Punting: Sav Rocca (P): 5-43.4 punt yard average

For a complete breakdown of the game’s statistics, click here.

Key Players

  • QB Donovan McNabb: Most would think a franchise QB such as McNabb would be on this list every week, but since we haven’t seen much of him this season, this is his first appearance on the “Key Players” compilation. In his return from a fractured rib he sustained back in Week 1, McNabb completed nearly 80% of his passes (16 of 21) for 264 yards and 3 TD. He also gained 30 yards on the ground (which led the team), and overall, was a key factor in the Eagles’ offensive success. Despite having to wear a protective padding jacket under his jersey, the QB was able to move around nicely, and seems perfectly capable of playing at a high level from here on out.
  • WR Jeremy Maclin: Although he received his first career start last week, today Maclin was truly involved in the Birds’ offensive plans. Playing in place of the injured Kevin Curtis, the rookie hauled in 6 catches for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, a tremendous showing, especially for someone who is in his first NFL season, and only his 4th career game, and matched up against one of the more talented secondaries in the league (top-ranked CBs Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib are among the defensive backs for the Bucs).
  • CB Asante Samuel: Not only was the veteran corner Samuel (pictured) able to find the ball (he recorded a pair of interceptions), but he also made some quality tackles, which have been hard to come by lately, as many have questioned Samuel’s strength, regarding him as more of a speedy defender rather than a physical one. The former Patriot also assisted the defensive line when he came on blitzing packages to place extra pressure on Buccaneers’ QB Josh Johnson.

Did You Know…

  • …that MLB Jeremiah Trotter celebrated his return to Philadelphia with his classic “axe swing” motion after running out of the inflatable Eagles tunnel during the lineup announcements over the stadium speaker? Despite not overwhelming the Bucs with a phenomenal statistical performance, the 4-time Pro-Bowler made some nice stops while defending running plays, and finished with a well respected 3 tackles, along with an assisted tackle.
  • …that Andy Reid earned his 100th career victory as the Eagles’ head coach with his win today? This achievement is something well worthy of respect, and it places him among a select group of NFL staff members. He becomes the 21st coach in league history to reach the century mark in wins with a single team, and the first coach to ever reach 100 victories in the Eagles’ franchise.
  • …that K David Akers became the franchise’s all-time leader in points scored with a trio of extra points and a field goal versus the Bucs? The veteran kicker now holds the Eagles’ records for most career field goals (236), extra points (366), and total points (1,074).
  • …that FB Leonard Weaver and MLB Omar Gaither donned pink-colored cleats in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? This tribute was only a small part of the entire idea to raise awareness of cancer, as there were pink ribbons painted onto the field, pink hats and assorted attire worn by several coaches, and hints of the color pink added to many of the players’ gloves.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter
PHI TD J.Maclin 51 yd. pass from D.McNabb (D.Akers kick) (2-64, 0:40)
2nd Quarter
PHI TD L.Weaver 20 yd. pass from D.McNabb (D.Akers kick) (6-76, 2:42)
TB TD K.Winslow 9 yd. pass from J.Johnson (S.Andrus kick) (5-80, 2:45)
PHI TD J.Maclin 40 yd. pass from D.McNabb (D.Akers kick) (2-57, 0:21)
3rd Quarter
PHI TD B.Westbrook 7 yd. run (D.Akers kick) (2-27, 0:50)
4th Quarter
PHI FG D.Akers 44 yd. Field Goal (12-64, 7:23)
TB TD K.Winslow 9 yd. pass from J.Johnson (S.Andrus kick) (11-74, 4:51)
PHI SFTY C.Williams tackled in end zone by D.Howard for a Safety

(picture source)

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