The Buccaneers are 5-1 after a 28-22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night in Philly. The first time the Buccaneers have started 5-1 in 16 years.
This was a game where the score was not an accurate indicator of how the Bucs dominated the Eagle’s offense. At one point in the third quarter, the Eagles barely had 100 yards of offense.
This was also the most impressive game by the Bucs defense this season despite being down three starters in the secondary. The Bucs played most of the game without Richard Sherman, who suffered a hamstring injury early in the first quarter and never returned.
This defense continues to play undisciplined football at times as they were penalized six times. Moreover, that contributed to giving the Eagles good field position throughout the night that helped them get back in the game.
The Bucs dominated in the first half, jumping out to a 21-7 halftime lead. The Buccaneers then made it 28-7 early in the third quarter before the Bucs took the foot off the accelerator, and the Eagles slowly crept back into the game.
The Bucs defense limited Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense to 213 total yards, a new season-low for the Bucs defense this season.
Leonard Fournette has improved every week since taking on a more significant role in the Bucs offense. Against the Eagles, Fournette ran the ball 22 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Fournette also caught six passes for 46 yards.
Bruce Arians called out Fournette in his post-game press conference. “Lenny’s been really, really good, real solid. Run and pass, and pass protection, he’s playing as a really good three-down back at a high level.”
Tom Brady even chimed in on “Playoff Lenny” after the win. “He’s a great back. He’s big, tough, catches it, runs; blocks does everything for us. It’s great to have him in there.”
Antonio Brown had another monster game at wide receiver for the Bucs with nine catches for 93 yards and one touchdown. Jalen Hurts accounted for 159 of the Eagles’ 213 offensive yards.
After six games, Mike Evans has 420 yards receiving, Antonio Brown 418, and Chris Godwin 409 yards. All on pace to get over 1100 yards this season.
It is scary to think how good this Bucs defense can be when they get everyone healthy. The defense has not played a complete game yet this season. However, this effort against the Eagles was far away from the Bucs’ defensive effort this season.
Bucs linebacker Devin White talked with FOX after the game and discussed the defensive effort against the Eagles:
We know we’re not playing to the best of our standards. We have a long way to go. But it’s a long season. It’s 17 games for a reason. In the end, we’re all going to be back. We’re all going to get better, and we’re going to start dominating soon.
The Bucs defense did register two sacks of Jalen Hurts. Vita Vea had one sack, while Shaquille Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combined for the other sack.
The Bucs had three starters and Richard Sherman all out with injuries in the secondary. Sherman said on his podcast that he thinks he may miss a couple of weeks at the most.
Arians said that he hopes Antoine Winfield Jr will be back and ready to go against the Bears. Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy Bunting continue to be on IR.
It is incredible to think what this defense will be able to accomplish when everyone is healthy.
In the meantime, Tom Brady had an average game by Tom Brady standards, completing 34/42 passes for 297 and two touchdowns. Brady was intercepted once.
Defensive penalties continue to haunt this defense and consequently could have cost them the game against the Eagles. Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards were both called for pass interference.
However, Edwards’s penalty was a 50 yarder that gave the Eagles excellent field position at the Bucs 25 yard line. That Eagles drive ended with a Jalen Hurts six-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 28-14.
The Bucs ended the night with 120 yards. They have now penalized 50 times this season which is second in the NFL.
The Bucs were happy to get another road win. Coach Arians commented post-game:
“Good road win. I’m really pleased with the guys that had to step in – Dee Delaney, Kevin Minter, guys that stepped in and played really well for us.”
The Bucs now have a mini-bye as they will have four days off and return to work on Tuesday to get ready for another improving team in the NFC, the Chicago Bears.