Sean Desai’s defense had a pretty good night. The Eagles limited the Bucs to just 174 yards of offense for 4.0 yards per play. They also produced two takeaways and a safety.
This was not exactly the ‘get right’ game for the passing offense that many were hoping to see. That said, it may prove to be a step in the right direction. Brian Johnson’s unit ultimately gained 472 yards. It was just frustrating to see points left on the board by scoring one touchdown on four red zone trips.
The Eagles made a fifth red zone trip that resulted in the end of the game as they successfully bled the clock after the Bucs cut the Eagles’ lead to 14 points. That was impressive.
All told, Philly has yet to play their all-around A-game. And despite that much, they’re undefeated and in sole possesion of first place in their division.
Speaking of, next up for the Eagles is their first NFC East matchup of the season: a Week 4 home game against the Washington Commanders.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage.
- The Eagles won the opening coin toss and elected to defer. The Bucs ran the ball twice against Philly’s 5-2 look to bring up 3rd-and-3. On third down, Baker Mayfield had an easy completion for a conversion with Josh Jobe giving a lot of cushion on the outside. A 3rd-and-8 throw by Mayfield to Mike Evans was unnecessarily high and tipped into the air for a near Darius Slay interception. The Bucs were able to punt instead. Mayfield’s inaccuracy helped the Eagles’ defense on Tampa’s first drive.
- D’Andre Swift, not Kenny Gainwell, was the first running back on the field for the Eagles and took the first carry for eight yards. Shocker: A.J. Brown caught Jalen Hurts’ first pass attempt for a 28-yard catch-and-run. Hurts then went back to Brown for another first down. On 3rd-and-2, Hurts had Olamide Zaccheaus in the end zone but the throw didn’t lead him enough.
Hurts had OZ for a TD but the throw is a bit behind. Game of inches. pic.twitter.com/GZozPY5FvQ— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 25, 2023
Nick Sirianni rightfully went for it on 4th-and-2 ... but Gainwell was tackled short of the marker. If I were the Eagles, I would not be looking to get the ball to my sixth-best offensive weapon at best on fourth down! Also, what was this?
Not sure why you needed back-to-back plays with Britain Covey on the field rather than A.J. Brown. #Eagles— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) September 25, 2023
The Bucs picked up one first down before having to punt. Britain Covey took the return 52 yards to allow the Birds to set up at TB’s 44-yard line. And that’s why Covey is on the roster!
The Eagles have a fantastic special teams unit… I have often said this. pic.twitter.com/QoIH2lB0OH— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 25, 2023
After a rough start as a rookie, Britain Covey was statistically one of the NFL’s very best punt returners in his final 10 games last year.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) September 25, 2023
Gets a lot of hate despite that (acknowledged: bad fumble last week).
52-yard PR to set the Eagles up with good field position.
That was a career-long, 52-yard punt return by Britain Covey, which was the longest by an Eagle since 2020. He also had a 25-yard punt return in Week 1. #FlyEaglesFly— John Gonoude (@john_gonoude) September 25, 2023
Britain Covey is the first Eagle to record multiple 25+ yard punt returns in a season since Darren Sproles in 2016 (also 2). #FlyEaglesFly— John Gonoude (@john_gonoude) September 25, 2023
- The Eagles’ offensive line paved the way for some big Swift runs to move the offense into the end zone. Jack Stoll couldn’t snag a pass that was thrown a little wide of his frame when it could’ve been between the numbers; another miss from Hurts. Landon Dickerson got flagged for being an ineligible man downfield to knock the Eagles back to 2nd-and-15. On second down, Hurts and Goedert didn’t appear to be on the same page. Hurts’ third down pass was a throwaway along the right sideline. Jake Elliott made the 36-yard field goal. Disappointing to see two red zone trips only end in three points. EAGLES 3, BUCCANEERS 0.
- Reed Blankenship came up to make a really nice tackle for loss. Marlon Tuipulotu (!) got to Mayfield for a sack; just the second sack of his career. Mayfield’s third down pass was off target and incomplete for a three-and-out.
- The Eagles got to 3rd-and-5 from their own 46-yard line. On third down, Hurts was flushed to his left by a blitz and he threw the ball away to bring up Braden Mann’s first punt. Offense still not clicking.
- The Bucs methodically moved into Eagles territory. Chris Godwin beat Bradberry in the slot to give the Bucs a first down at Philly’s 28-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, Jobe broke up a pass but got called for pass interference. On 3rd-and-9, Sydney Brown was able to help prevent a touchdown by breaking up an inaccurate but still entirely catchable pass by Mayfield to Evans. Phew. Fortunate to only give up three on that drive. EAGLES 3, BUCCANEERS 3.
- Devon Allen’s first career kick return only got to the 16-yard line. Facing 3rd-and-5, Hurts had a good completion to Goedert over the middle for a first down. Encouraging. Hurts managed to stay alive against pressure to fire a pass to an open Zaccheaus along the left sideline. Wow, looked like that could’ve gone badly but it turned out great. A false start by Goedert knocked the offense to 3rd-and-10. On third down, Hurts held onto the ball for what felt like too long ... and got hit as he threw ... to complete the pass to OZ for a TOUCHDOWN! Two “no, no, no ... YES!” plays by Hurts on that drive. Credit to him for making big things happen on an 84-yard scoring drive, longest of the season. EAGLES 10, BUCCANEERS 3.
- With rain beginning to pour down in Tampa, Blankenship did an awesome job of jumping a pass for his second career interception! First pick of Mayfield’s 2023 season. Blankenship can really play, man.
- The Eagles took over with good field position at the Bucs’ 37-yard line. On a designed QB run, Hurts got dragged down from behind short of the marker by his t-shirt. Didn’t look fun. The Eagles went with the Tush Push to get a first down ... that was then reviewed ... and the ruling stood. Hurts threw an interception right to Devin White after a miscommunication with Swift. Just three points from two red zone trips AND a drive that started at the Bucs’ 37-yard line is not nearly good enough.
Announcers called this a miscommunication, but if Swift broke outside this would also be behind him. I think it was just a bad throw unless he thought it was a curl pic.twitter.com/f8UuW8vQyf— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
- Fletcher Cox sacked Mayfield. And then Jalen Carter knocked the ball out of Rachaad White’s control for a James Bradberry recovery! Carter is a grown ass man out there.
Heads up play by Jalen Carter to punch this ball out pic.twitter.com/YagPnrA5XL— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
- The Eagles took over at the Bucs’ 36-yard line with 0:24 on the clock. A Gainwell run picked up six yards and the Eagles called their first timeout. Hurts to Brown picked up two more yards. The play was reviewed and Brown was ruled down inbounds to force the Eagles to burn their second timeout with 0:15 left. On third down, Hurts took off running for eight yards. The Eagles called their final timeout with 0:09 left. The Eagles ran another play and Hurts targeted Brown short of the end zone (why?!) along the left sideline but Dean got a hand on it before it fell incomplete. What was that? The Eagles settled for a 38-yard field goal from Elliott to go up two scores. EAGLES 13, BUCCANEERS 3.
Eagles defense in 1st half: 6 possessions, they forced three punts, had two takeaways, and gave up a FG.— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) September 26, 2023
Just 6 1st downs and 87 yards for Bucs offense.
Terrific individual plays by Jalen Carter and Reed Blankenship.
From https://t.co/OsAw6iE5PS. #Eagles with a low success rate in the passing game again, with the two big completions coming on off-schedule plays. But defense playing lights out: just 6 first downs on 12 series, 3 points on 6 drives, 2 turnovers. pic.twitter.com/ihAbgZiEsk— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) September 26, 2023
- The Eagles got the ball to begin the second half. Hurts tricked a blitzing Bucs defender to stop rushing on 3rd-and-3 and escaped right to just get to the marker along the sideline for a first down. Swift took advantage of a HUGE hole opened up by the offensive line up the middle and hurdled a Bucs defender for a 26-yard gain. The Eagles went hurry up and the Bucs burned a timeout to avoid getting penalized for a defender running off the field late. The Eagles got to 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Another Swift carry got the Eagles to the 1-yard line. Hurts threw a little too high to Brown in the end zone for a would-be touchdown. Tough throw with Hurts needing to get the ball over an underneath defender. The Eagles then went with the Tush Push on back-to-back plays for the fourth down touchdown! Unstoppable. Three-possession game after a 13-play, 75-yard drive. EAGLES 20, BUCCANEERS 3.
ALWAYS QB SNEAK— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
(twice if necessary) pic.twitter.com/NfhBgqbfUA
- Mike Evans dropped yet another pass (oddly bad game) to bring up a Bucs third down. On 3rd-and-7, Mayfield escaped from an oncoming rush to fire a pass downfield while getting rocked by Nolan Smith. The throw to Evans was way overthrown and incomplete to bring up another Bucs punt. Nice to see the Eagles’ other first-round pick get involved:
Nolan Smith crushed Baker Mayfield as he let go of that one pic.twitter.com/4sdReY37SF— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
- Swift broke a run for 29 yards to go over 100 on the night. Hurts took a deep shot to DeVonta Smith ... but was picked off by a backup cornerback. Great leaping play by the defender.
- The Bucs took over backed up at their own 1-yard line and Nicholas Morrow shot through good push by the Eagles’ defensive line for the safety! Lol. That looked too easy. EAGLES 22, BUCCANEERS 3.
That’s a great play by Nicholas Morrow pic.twitter.com/cvqBOuB4KX— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
Watch Jordan Davis (#90) closely on this play. He pushes the Bucs center back 5 yards into the end zone and gives White no where to go. Absolutely dominant. pic.twitter.com/zMusmus6xl— Patrick (@PhillyPMC) September 26, 2023
- The Eagles drove 57 yards in six plays to get to the Bucs’ 6-yard line at the end of the third quarter.
- On 1st-and-goal, Brown dropped a touchdown pass from Hurts that hit him in the hands. Gainwell ran for a few yards. On third down, Hurts tripped when it looked like the Eagles were trying to run a pass from the Tush Push formation. The Eagles had to settle for another Elliott field goal. EAGLES 25, BUCCANEERS 3.
Time to delete that one from the playbook pic.twitter.com/chmHNldSeo— Shane Haff (@ShaneHaffNFL) September 26, 2023
- Evans made a crazy good catch to put the Bucs in Eagles territory. The Bucs drove to 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line and Evans beat Darius Slay for the touchdown. The Bucs went for two and Mayfield found a wide open target for the successful try. Game not over. EAGLES 25, BUCCANEERS 11.
- The Eagles took over at their own 25 with 9:22 left in the game. They ran it with Gainwell to pick up a yard and then threw to Goedert over the middle for a first down. The Eagles got to 3rd-and-1 and Sirianni called his first timeout. Another Tush Push, another first down. Hurts underthrew Gainwell, who was matched up against Devin White out wide, for an incompletion that stopped the clock. Hurts connected with Brown on 3rd-and-13 and the receiver made a defender miss to pick up another first down. The Eagles got to 4th-and-2 and Hurts made a quick throw to Brown for the first down and the win. Pretty badass drive to bleed out the clock like that to end the game.
PHI 25 - 11 TB— Scorigami (@NFL_Scorigami) September 26, 2023
That's Scorigami!! It's the 1078th unique final score in NFL history.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES WIN, 25 to 11
EAGLES INJURY NEWS
- Justin Evans (neck) was in the medical tent midway through the first quarter. He was ruled questionable to return.
- Sydney Brown (thigh) was ruled questionable to return.
- Landon Dickerson (knee contusion) got banged up late in the third quarter and was ruled questionable to return. Sua Opeta came in to play left guard.