By Leo Haggerty


A quick Editor’s note.  There are two reasons that the Bucs contest with the Eagles is lacking our normal compelling content and only containing a review of the tilt.

The first is that it was a short week road contest being played on Thursday.  That allowed the media only two days of access with the players and coaches and one was a totally Zoom availability.

The second was that on Monday two very dear friends of mine died.  The first was an individual that I had known since moving to Florida in 1987 and we coached together for years.  He finally lost his fight against a deadly disease early this week  The second was a media colleague who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  May they both rest in piece and look for our usual compelling content with the next Buccaneers tilt.

Tampa Bay traveled to the City of Brotherly Love on Thursday and held on for a 28-22 triumph over Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field.  The win improved the Buccaneers to 5-1 keeping the Pewter Pirates at the top of the National Football Conference South Division standings.  The loss dropped the Eagles to 2-4 and that puts the Birds three games down in the loss column to the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys.

The Bucs struck first at 9:32 of the first period.  After taking the opening kickoff, Tampa Bay motored 75 yards in 10 plays consuming 5:34. QB Tom Brady (34-of-42 for 297 yards and 2 TD plus 1 INT) found TE O.J Howard (6 for 49 yards and 1 TD)  on a crossing route in the back left portion of the end zone from 2 yards out.  K Ryan Succop added the PAT and the Buccaneers we off and running with a 7-0 lead.

Philly immediately answered that score with one of their own at 6:05 of the opening stanza. On their next possession, QB Jalen Hurts (12-of-26 for 115 yards and 1 TD plus 1 INT) hit TE Zach Ertz (4 for 29 yards 1 TD) with a 5 yard aerial on a quick out.  That finished off a seven play drive that took 3:12 to go 75 yards.  K Jake Elliott converted the PAT knotting the score at 7 all.

The Pewter Pirates broke the tie quickly with their next possession with just 42 seconds left in the first quarter. Again, it was Brady finding WR Antonio Brown (9 for 93 yards and 1 TD) with a 23 yard strike.  That ended another 75 yard drive that took  nine plays and 5:28.  Succop was perfect again pushing the Bucs lead to 14-7.

Tampa Bay extended their lead with 2:00 left in the second period.  After a couple exchange of punts, the Buccaneers travelled 72 yards in 5:36 taking 11 plays with RB Leonard Fournette (22 for 81 yards and 2 TD) powering in from the 2 yard line.  Succop split the uprights and the Bucs moved out to a 21-7 lead heading into halftime.

The Bucs were the first to score after intermission when Fornette did the honors this time with a one yard plunge at 5:50 of the third quarter.  That capped a 12 play drive that traversed 78 yards eating 7:41. Succop hit the PAT and it looked like the rout was on as the Pewter Pirates moved to a 28-7 advantage.

The Eagles were far from dead and dented the scoreboard the next time the had the ball at 2:21 of the third period.  Hurts (10 for 44 yards and 2 TD) scrambled around the right end to finish off a 75 yard drive that took seven plays and 3:32 of clock time.  Elliott booted the extra point and the Birds closed to 21-14.

Philadelphia closed the gap at 5:54 of the final quarter.  After a drive that lasted seven plays and went 54 yards in 3:05, Hurts tiptoed into the end zone off the right side for his second rushing score of the evening.  For some reason that I cannot fathom, the Birds went for two and were successful when Hurts found WR Quez Watkins (3 for 44 yards) cutting the Bucs margin to 28-22 but that’s the closest the Birds would get.

Tampa Bay would run out the rest of the clock to secure the victory.  That gives the Buccaneers an extended time to prepare for a 4:30 Sunday afternoon kickoff against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium.

Let’s see if the Bucs can continue their winning ways against The Monsters of the Midway.  Until then, stay safe.