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Bucs roll past Eagles 32-9, advance to Divisional Round

The Buccaneers defied the odds and throttled the Philadelphia Eagles 32-9 to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. Tampa Bay held the lead from their first drive and never looked back. The Eagles never really threatened the Bucs at any point and all but self-destructed in the second half.

Baker Mayfield and the Bucs offense were far from perfect, but they faced a highly dysfunctional Eagles defense that had serious tackling issues all night. Mayfield completed 22-of-36 passes for 337 yards and two three touchdowns. Tight end Cade Otton led the team with eight receptions for 89 yards.

Tampa Bay’s defense terrorized Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts all night, sacking him three times and recording six QB hits. The defense also avenged their brutal Week 3 outing against the Eagles’ run offense, holding Philadelphia to 42 yards on 15 carries and recording five tackles for a loss.

The Bucs opened the game with a field goal drive that might have been touchdowns if not for a Cade Otton drop in the end zone. Their second drive did end a rare first-quarter touchdown thanks to a huge catch-and-run by wide receiver David Moore, who weaved through the entire secondary for the score:

The Bucs would settle for field goals on their next two drives which were also marred by drops. The defense mostly compensated, holding the Eagles to 26 yards and shutting them out in the first quarter. Down 13-0 at the start of the second quarter, the Eagles got into the game with consecutive field goal and touchdown drives.

After Zyon McCollum was called for offsides on the extra point attempt, the Eagles attempted the two-point conversion with their infamous “tush push.” However, the Bucs defense did the unthinkable and held Hurts out of the end zone. This would all but end Philadelphia’s shot at making the game competitive, entering halftime down 16-9.

The second half began with the Bucs and Eagles trading four straight punts. On Philadelphia’s third drive of the third quarter, the Eagles were backed up in their own endzone when Calijah Kancey flushed Jalen Hurts in the waiting arms of Anthony Nelson. Hurts attempted to get the ball out of his hands but was called for intentional grounding, drawing a safety.

Tampa Bay responded with another scoring drive that all but iced the game. On the second play of the drive, Baker Mayfield hit WR Trey Palmer near the sideline for a small pick-up, but a missed tackle by James Bradberry allowed Palmer to show off his speed, outrunning the entire secondary to the endzone.

Philadelphia’s last attempt at points ended in a sequence of events that ironically punished the Eagles for their customary aggressiveness. After getting Tampa Bay’s 22-yard line, the Eagles made a field goal on fourth-and-10. However, another Zyon McCollum offsides penalty encouraged Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni to attempt the conversion on fourth-and-five. Hurts attempted to connect with Devonta Smith, but Carlton Davis III broke up the pass, turning the ball over on downs.

The Bucs scored one more time on a 23-yard prayer of a pass from Baker Mayfield to Chris Godwin. The game ended with both teams turning the ball over on downs before the Bucs kneeled out the clock.

The Bucs will now face the Detroit Lions in the divisional round. While the Detroit defense has its vulnerabilities, Tampa Bay should not expect the same kind of malaise the Eagles’ defense exhibited. Baker Mayfield and the offense will have to start hot and stay on point to have any shot at winning in Detroit.

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire