It wasn’t always pretty, but the Bucs left Philadelphia 5-1 following a 28-22 victory over the Eagles Thursday night.
TB12 played fine, throwing a pair of TDs and an interception. He also had an egregious and inexplicable error in the fourth quarter when the Bucs went for it on fourth and two, overthrowing Antonio Brown on a deep route instead of simply checking it down to scatback Gio Bernard for an easy conversion that would’ve milked the clock.
The Eagles, of course, then took it down the field and made it a one possession game and converted the two-point conversion.
But, Brady got a little help from his friends, the referees, as they called another one of those silly taunting calls on Eagles linebacker Genard Avery, costing Philly 15 yards and a first down on the Bucs’ game-ending drive in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs’ defense played very well, doing a great job of containing quarterback Jalen Hurts and making him uncomfortable. They only had a pair of sacks and 7 quarterback hits, but managed to accumulate 7 pass breakups, with cornerback Jamel Dean leading the way in that regard with 4.
Shaq Barrett was also all over the place, with two tackles for loss and half a sack, but Shaq's impact went beyond the stat sheet, as he was constantly chasing Hurts out of the pocket and out of bounds, giving the former Oklahoma Sooner headaches all night.
Speaking of Hurts, he was 12-26 throwing the ball with a measly 115 yards, as well as a pick. He managed to run in two touchdowns to add to his one passing touchdown, but he generally looked unsettled and was inaccurate for most of the game.
The Eagles’ top wideout DeVonta Smith also had a quiet game, only hauling in two catches for 31 yards.
Leonard Fournette continues to play like he’s back at LSU, with 125 yards from scrimmage and 2 rushing touchdowns. The Bucs must have read my preview article, because they used their backs and tight ends in the passing game a lot, accounting for 18 of Brady’s 34 completions.
The Eagles’ linebackers looked lost, with the Bucs using screen plays to get their playmakers in open space, especially tight end OJ Howard, who had a whale of a game, racking up six6 catches for 49 yards and a TD.
The Bucs need to win games like this, and they did just that on Thursday.
If you would have told me the Bucs would start the season 5-1, I think we all would have absolutely taken it without hesitation. That game against the Rams was a rough one to watch, but the Bucs have certainly taken care of business against the teams they needed to.
And isn’t that what good teams are supposed to do?
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