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Tom Brady, Buccaneers Improve to 5-1 with Win over Jalen Hurts, Eagles

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 15, 2021

AP Photo/Rich Schultz

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear to be hitting their stride as the 2021 season continues.

Tampa Bay defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 28-22 in Thursday's showdown at Lincoln Financial Field. Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette impressed for the victors, who improved to 5-1 on the season with their third consecutive win and further cemented their place atop the NFC South.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Bucs hold off Eagles 28-22 to move to 5-1<br><br>Brady: 34/42, 297 YDS, 2 TD, INT<br><br>Fournette: 127 total YDS, 2 TD<br><br>Brown: 9 REC, 93 YDS, TD <a href="https://t.co/yQLooCONWn">pic.twitter.com/yQLooCONWn</a>

Jalen Hurts led the way in the losing effort for the Eagles, who dropped to 2-4 and remain well behind the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.


Notable Player Stats

  • Tom Brady, QB, TB: 34-of-42 passing for 297 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
  • Leonard Fournette, RB, TB: 22 carries for 81 yards, 2 TDs; 6 catches for 46 yards
  • Antonio Brown, WR, TB: 9 catches for 93 yards, 1 TD
  • Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI: 12-of-26 passing for 115 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 10 carries for 44 yards, 2 TDs

Quick Start Propels Bucs to Victory

Brady may somehow be getting even better at 44 years old.

He threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns in the same game for the first time in his illustrious career during Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins and took the momentum generated from that performance into the matchup with the Eagles.

The all-time great controlled the first half, throwing touchdown passes to O.J. Howard and Antonio Brown while staking the visitors to a 14-point lead at intermission.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Brady finds AB for 6️⃣<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/h5T44Iewlo">pic.twitter.com/h5T44Iewlo</a>

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Brady was ruthlessly efficient while fitting passes through tight windows and unleashing long throws against an overmatched Philadelphia defense. That also created more room for the rushing attack, and Fournette found the end zone multiple times while running with a physicality the Eagles front seven failed to match.

While the game looked over in the third quarter after Fournette's second touchdown, Tampa Bay's juggernaut of an offense finally slowed down with a three-and-out and failed fourth-down conversion on a questionable decision. Combine that with a renewed rushing attack for Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay was suddenly facing some pressure up six in the final minutes.

As if there was any doubt, Brady delivered.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion rolled out and found Brown for a key third-down conversion and then used his legs on a quarterback sneak to convert another third down. While Tampa Bay benefited from a taunting penalty during the drive, Brady also made sure the Eagles never got the ball back as he clinched another win.


Eagles' Late Charge Falls Short

It wasn't a stretch to see Thursday's game as something of a turning point for the Eagles.

After all, it was a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time all year after the victory over the Carolina Panthers. It was also an opportunity to further remove themselves from the three-game losing streak they sandwiched in between their two wins.

The offense was anything but up for the challenge in the early going.

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While Hurts did find Zach Ertz for a touchdown in the first quarter, the rest of the opening half featured four punts and a terrible interception by the young quarterback. Hurts struggled to hit anything downfield even though Tampa Bay was missing linebacker Lavonte David, safety Antoine Winfield, and cornerbacks Richard Sherman, Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting.

And then something flipped.

The Eagles finally started using Miles Sanders, a long pass interference bailed the offense out at one point and Hurts broke containment on a key fourth-down scramble for a touchdown to break a streak of six straight scoreless drives. Hurts then scored on another keeper in the fourth quarter, and the ensuing two-point conversion brought a Philadelphia team that was once down 21 to within six.

Unfortunately for the home team, it wouldn't get the ball back with a chance to complete the comeback, and its efforts fell short.


What's Next?

The Buccaneers host the Chicago Bears in Week 7, while the Eagles travel to face the Las Vegas Raiders on the road.

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