By Matthew Ryan, Sports Talk Philly Contributor
The Eagles (9-8) are back in the playoffs facing the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (13-4) on the road in the Wild Card round. The Bucs have dominated the first half on both sides of the ball and lead 17-0. The Eagles will receive the opening kick in the third quarter. Here’s what we saw in the first 30 minutes of action:
TE Dallas Goedert
The Eagles’ offense struggled in the first half, and Goedert was one of the only players to get heavily involved in the passing game. Goedert finished the half with three catches for 36 yards but also dropped what would have been a big-time gain in Buccaneer territory.
DE Ryan Kerrigan
After having an atrocious regular season, Kerrigan has put together quite an impressive effort in the first half. On 2nd-and-goal, Kerrigan came up with a tackle for loss on a drive that eventually ended in a field goal. Kerrigan came up with a third-down sack on the ensuing Bucs’ drive that led to a punt. On Tampa Bays’ last drive of the half, Kerrigan picked up his second sack of the day on third down and forced the Bucs to punt.
For an offense that was in the upper half of regular season teams, they were shut down for all of the first half. They only accumulated 118 yards and picked up just five first downs. The offense needs to have a big second half if the Eagles want to pull off the improbable comeback.
QB Tom Brady
A familiar postseason foe for the Eagles, Brady was rolling in the first half. The 44-year-old went 20-of-25 for 159 yards. With the lead so big, the Bucs will likely run the ball more in the second half, but the Eagles defense still needs to have their main focus be on Brady.