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Mayfield, Buccaneers 'completely embraced' underdog role to beat Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates a first down run against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Quarterback Baker Mayfield said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "completely embraced" their role as underdogs to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the NFL postseason.

The veteran quarterback completed 22 of 36 passes for 337 yards and three scores in the 32-9 victory Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

"We worked extremely hard to get into the playoffs," Mayfield told reporters. "We just wanted an opportunity. Our guys came out and played really well. ... We should have had a lot more points on offense, but we did just enough to get the win.

"We are happy, but we've still got more to go."

The Buccaneers, who lost to the Eagles in Week 3, out-gained their favored foes 426 to 276 in total yards and held an edge of nearly 10 minutes in time of possession.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (R) attempts a catch during the first half of a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

"It says a lot about the growth of our team, from where we were in the beginning, to the middle, toward the end and now," Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles said. "We are playing with confidence and team football. ... These guys want it. They see it and they are going to compete every week."

The Buccaneers, who were 3.5-point underdogs, scored on their first four drives of the night. Kicker Chase McLaughlin made field goals on three of those possessions. Mayfield also threw a 44-yard touchdown toss to David Moore on the Buccaneers' second drive.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) congratulates Chris Godwin (14) after his touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Kicker Jake Elliott made a second-quarter field goal for the Buccaneers' first points. Quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert about three minutes before halftime, but the Buccaneers led 16-9 at the break.

The Buccaneers added to their lead when Hurts was called for intentional grounding in the end zone in the third quarter, resulting in a safety. Mayfield threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trey Palmer about a minute later to help the Buccaneers take a 25-9 edge.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver David Moore runs for the end zone to score against the Philadelphia Eagles during a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver David Moore runs for the end zone to score against the Philadelphia Eagles during a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

Mayfield threw his final touchdown toss of the night with about 5:42 remaining. He threw that 23-yard score to wide receiver Chris Godwin.

"There's something about whether it's you're an underdog or [on] a road game, just having your backs against the wall and knowing it's just your team versus everybody else when you're counted out," Mayfield said. "It's always fun to be in that role.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Rachaad White (L) scoots past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (R) during the first half of a wild-card game Monday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI

"Obviously I'm pretty comfortable in it, but our team has completely embraced that throughout the year."

Hurts completed 25 of 35 passes for 250 yards and a score in the loss. Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith caught eight passes for a game-high 148 yards.

"We were just a little bit out of flow," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. "That's always going to start with me. It wasn't good enough."

Mayfield and the No. 5 Buccaneers will take on the No. 2 Detroit Lions in the divisional round. That game will kick off at 3 p.m. EST Sunday in Detroit. The Lions advanced with a wild-card round win Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams.

The winner of the Buccaneers-Lions game will face the No. 7 Green Bay Packers or No. 1 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers and Packers will kick off at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The divisional round will start with an AFC meeting between the No. 4 Houston Texans and No. 1 Baltimore Ravens. That game will kick off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Baltimore.

The winner of that meeting will face the No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs or No. 2 Buffalo Bills in the AFC title game. The Bills and Chiefs will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.