The Eagles defeat the Buccaneers 25-11 on Monday Night Football to stay undefeated

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, right, hands off to running back Kenneth Gainwell, left, in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

With the rain pouring down at Raymond James stadium, both the Eagles and the Bucs struggled to find their footing. Defense ruled the day early on, but the road team showed intent early. Jalen Hurts was quick to make up for lost time with A.J Brown, targeting him twice for 44 yards to set the tone, while D’Andre Swift ripped through the defense, picking up where he left off after a historic week 2.

Unfortunately, that drive ended in a turnover at the 14-yard line due to a failed 4th down conversion attempt. You can’t fault the Birds for being aggressive early.

After a defensive back and forth and a Philly field goal on the back of a rogue Britain Covey punt return, the Eagles finally found the endzone. Olamide Zaccheaus hauled in a 34-yard pass from Jalen Hurts in the second quarter to score his first touchdown as an Eagle.

There would be no time to rest for the offense, however. Baker Mayfield threw his first interception of the year just play later. He’d been lucky to avoid some major sacks up to that point, but he couldn’t avoid a roaming Reed Blankenship who broke on a crossing route like a homing missile to record the pick. Philadelphia really missed his presence last week and it’s clear just how important he’s going to be in Desai’s defense.

Unfortunately, Jalen Hurts turned it back over what felt like seconds later! Devin White, a player forever linked with the Eagles, picked off a pass meant for DeVonta Smith and gave the Bucs a lifeline…

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Devin White (45) looks into the offensive backfield during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 05, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

…that was until Jalen Carter then decided he wanted to get in on the action. The rookie forced a fumble just moments after the Bucs got the ball back. It’s been an explosive start to Carter’s NFL career and he could already be a leading DROY candidate. At this rate, he might even be challenging for DPOY…

Philadelphia ended the half with a 13-3 lead. It was a half filled with turnovers, errant passes, and sloppiness that matched the slippery conditions they were playing in.

Eagles continue to run Swift-ly

The Eagles started the second half with a mixed bag of plays but ultimately it was D’Andre Swift who opened up the offense. Swift had several big plays. One of the plays included a hurdle where Swift gashed through the defensive line and leaped over Antoine Winfield for a gain of 26 yards.

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Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift (0) is stopped by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It took 13 plays for 75 yards until the Eagles ultimately scored on a second-effort rush push on 4th down. Swift alone had 43 rushing yards on that drive and had 81 rushing yards up until that point of the game. It was Jalen Hurts 29th career rushing touchdown as that is the most by an NFL QB in their first 50 games in the league.

The defense came out strong in the second half as the Bucs offense continued to struggle against Philly’s powerful defensive line. The pressure on Mayfield was too much for the QB to handle. It also didn’t help that Evans had quite a few drops in key moments too. 

After their defensive stop, the Eagles focused on sealing the game as they paced themselves on the next drive. After a first down tush push, Swift gashed the defensive line for another 29 yards as he crossed 100 rushing yards in back-to-back weeks for the Eagles.

Unfortunately, the Eagles’ momentum was halted after a deep pass that was thrown by Jalen Hurts led to a big interception. Fortunately for Hurts, the Eagles’ defense showed up and forced a safety on the Bucs. The defense dominated the Bucs in nearly all aspects of the game on Monday Night.

This put the Eagles up 22-3 with little time left in the third quarter. Philly fought to put away the Bucs but failed to do so in a drive that only led to three points. A 10-play drive carried from the third quarter into the fourth quarter as the Eagles went up 25-3. Tampa went on to answer back with a score to bring it to a 14-point gap in the fourth quarter.

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Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown runs a route against the New York Giants during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia found a way to win tonight on the back of their phenomenal defensive line and their spark plug on offense in the form of RB D’Andre Swift.  Swift finished with 130 rushing yards while A.J. Brown finished with 131 receiving yards. 

The Eagles will now prepare for their first division matchup on Sunday as they take on the Commanders at 1 p.m. in Philadelphia. Until then, the Eagles need to get healthy and focus on fixing the passing game.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer