Jalen Reagor's brutal day a painful reminder to Eagles fans he's not Justin Jefferson

Jalen Reagor wasn't the reason the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

But he didn't help.

In a game where pretty much everything that could go wrong did for Philadelphia, Reagor's struggles stood out in the 31-15 NFC wild-card playoff loss. Quarterback Jalen Hurts repeatedly looked to Reagor early and unsuccessfully as the Bucs raced out to a 31-0 lead. By the time receiver DeVonta Smith got involved in the offense, the game was already well out of hand.

Reagor, meanwhile, tallied a grand total of one catch for 2 yards. But his special teams miscues really drew the ire of the Philadelphia faithful.

Second-half muff proves costly

With the game conceivably still in reach while the Eagles trailed 17-0 early in the third quarter, the Bucs punted from deep in their territory. Bradley Pinion's punt was short, and Reagor set up to receive it near midfield. Instead, he muffed it. Bucs cornerback Ross Cockrell pounced on the loose ball for a recovery.

Five plays later, Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a touchdown and a 24-0 Bucs lead. And that was pretty much that. For the game, at least.

Reagor, who'd also allowed a punt to sail over his head in the first half to pin the Eagles deep, continued to struggle and let another punt slip through his hands early in the fourth quarter.

He recovered this one. And the game was pretty much out of hand at that point regardless. It added up to a punctuation mark on a day when Reagor would surely like to forget. From the looks of it, Smith shared the frustrations of Eagles fans who turned "Cut Jalen Reagor" into a Twitter trend during the game.

It all added up to a painful reminder for Eagles fans that Philadelphia selected Reagor with the No. 21 pick in the 2020 draft, one pick ahead of Justin Jefferson to the Minnesota Vikings.

As a rookie, Reagor tallied 31 catches for 396 yards and a touchdown in 11 games. He regressed in 2021, totaling 33 catches for 299 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games while watching his yards-per-reception rate drop from 12.8 to 9.1. Needless to say, he has not met the expectations placed on a first-round receiver.

Jalen Reagor (18) did not have a good day in the Eagles' playoff loss to the Bucs. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jalen Reagor (18) did not have a good day in the Eagles' playoff loss to the Bucs. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Jefferson, meanwhile, broke the modern day rookie record (since eclipsed by Ja'Marr Chase) with 1,400 receiving yards in his first season in Minnesota. He followed that up with 1,616 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021, good for his second Pro Bowl berth in two seasons.

The bright side for Eagles fans is that Smith flashed his own first-round pedigree with a 916-yard campaign as Philadelphia's leading receiver in his rookie season. But they're left to only dream of what a tandem of Smith and Jefferson might offer.