TAMPA, Fla. -- The Philadelphia Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes -- the last on a one-yard Nick Foles pass to Jeremy Maclin as time expired -- to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-21 at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.
The Eagles converted a fourth-and-5 on a 22-yard pass from Foles to Jason Avant with 16 seconds remaining. On the final play, a sprint out pass from Foles, Maclin sprinted to the outside right of the end zone, and managed to keep both feet in bounds on the catch. The play was reviewed, but the ruling on the field stood.
It was the Eagles' first come-from-behind game-winning TD as time expired since 1970, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Foles said it was the first play that came to his head.
"I just like a movement play in that situation because it changes throwing lanes," he said. "If you're in the pocket, a guy can undercut it, whereas if you're on the run, there's no undercut."
It was validation for an Eagles team that had dropped eight straight games. Maclin, who caught 13 passes for 104 yards receiving, including the game-winning touchdown, says he never felt like the game was over before that final drive, or that his team would quit.
"I'm never, ever, ever going to have any thought in my head other than we can do it," he said. "When I came out and saw the coverage, I knew that I had a good opportunity of getting this ball. Nick (Foles) put the ball down and away like he was supposed to. I went down and got the ball, made sure I was in bounds, and the rest is history."
Defensive end Michael Bennett said the Bucs were familiar with that play.
"That's what most teams play in the NFL. In order to get one guy open, they have him running and everyone else is just blocking," he said. "For a defensive line, everything is rushing one way and you think it's a rush play. It's one of those things (where) they called the play, we knew that play, and as veterans on this team, we should have stood up and made those plays."
Tampa Bay produced three second-half scoring drives, but it wasn't enough.
Foles, named the Eagles' starting quarterback for the remainder of the season by coach Andy Reid, completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think we're watching something special grow before our eyes. I think Nick's going to be a phenomenal quarterback in this league," said Maclin.
"Nick's ahead of his time," said Eagles safety Nate Allen. "He has composure and everybody saw that today. For a rookie to be put in that situation and handling it the way he does, it's really good, really good. We have all the confidence in him."
Foles also scored on a 10-yard second-quarter run, set up by a 39-yard catch from Avant, who caught seven passes for 133 yards. Avant also made a one-handed grab on a 20-yard pass, setting up a 28-yard field goal by Alex Henery before halftime.
The Eagles' kicker missed two field-goal attempts, with the ball going wide left on 58- and 31-yard tries.
Tampa Bay struggled offensively most of the day against an Eagles defense with quarterback Josh Freeman completing 14 of 34 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
"We were just a little off," Freeman said. "We weren't finding the plays downfield that we normally do."
"We came in saying we were going to press them a lot on the outside and challenge their receivers. Nnamdi (Asomugha) and DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) did a great job of that," said Allen. "And upfront, our defensive line -- they got after it."
The Bucs caught a break in the third quarter when Dekoda Watson recovered a muffed punt by Damaris Johnson at the Philadelphia 5-yard line. Freeman connected with Mike Williams on a 1-yard touchdown, cutting the Eagles' lead to 10-7.
The Buccaneers followed with a 13-yard touchdown strike from Freeman to Vincent Jackson early in the fourth quarter. Then with 7:26 remaining, Doug Martin punched in a four-yard touchdown run. The Bucs rookie running back rushed for 128 yards on 28 carries.
Foles' 11-yard pass to tight end Clay Harbor with 3:55 to go put the Eagles on top 21-16. The two-point conversion pass failed.
The Tampa Bay defense sacked Foles six times but could not make enough key stops to prevent the Eagles' late offensive surge.
NOTES: Eagles tight end Brent Celek left the game in the first quarter with a concussion. ... Philadelphia fullback Stanley Havili left the game with an ankle injury but did return. ... Asomugha suffered a neck injury and thigh bruise but returned in the second half. ... Foles suffered an elbow contusion but returned. ... Tampa Bay defensive back Anthony Gaitor returned to action after being placed injured reserve/designated to return list with a hamstring injury. He finished with two solo tackles, one assist, and two pass breakups. ... The Buccaneers honored their 2002-03 Super Bowl championship team, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the team's win over the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl. Nearly every member of the 2002 team was in attendance, including former head coach Jon Gruden, who spoke to the fans at halftime... Martin broke the Buccaneers' rookie single season rushing record, surpassing Cadillac Williams with 1,234 yards rushing.