Eagles Postgame Report: Birds Complete Epic Collapse In Wild Card Matchup With Buccaneers

Eagles Postgame Report: Birds Complete Epic Collapse In Wild Card Matchup With Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck, USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles secured their postseason berth by way of their starting the season 10-1.

Then there was what is being considered by many to be the worst collapse in Eagles history. It was worsened by the team playing starters in their final, meaningless game of the season that wound up leaving the team without Reed Blankenship, Sydney Brown and AJ Brown for their lone guaranteed playoff game.

To the surprise of just about no one, the game went the same way as the last six. The defense made no plays and no tackles, the offensive play calls were terrible and Hurts kept the ball more often than not rarely targeting his open man (preferring to throw it to a covered receiver).

The best plays for the defense was a sack by Josh Sweat that setup a 3rd and long and then forced a throw that SHOULD have been picked, but it only hit Cunningham in both of his hands, so naturally he didn’t come down with it (and the Eagles went down another field goal).

Among the items to add to the embarrassment: a failed brotherly shove at the one-yard line on a two-point conversion attempt and a fumble by Britain Covey on the lone punt the Buccaneers had in the first half.

Still, Tampa Bay settling for field goals and a miracle of several play calls that weren’t incredibly stupid left the Eagles entering the half just one score down.

They came out after the half with a -1 yard run, a deep pass to Watkins (which would have been DPI for literally any other receiver, but wasn’t called) and then Cam Jurgens doing absolutely no blocking to allow a sack. And so began another garbage half of offense.

The tagteam duo of the absolute dumbest plays you could find really highlighted the third quarter as Kenneth Gainwell pushed up to the line of scrimmage on a rushing attempt only to run six yards backward and get tackled there. Then Jalen Hurts decided to hold onto the ball until the defenders got there, so he not only ran into his own endzone, but then stood still and did not throw the ball to let the next guy hit him and bring him down for a safety (the play started at the 14-yard line). He attempted to throw the ball only after he was already down. It was a series of plays that would be worthy of immediately benching Gainwell for the rest of the game and then immediately cutting him post game. It also should have lead to the immediate benching of Hurts, who clearly did not have any interest in trying to win.

The defense actually played pretty solid to start the second half, until they saw Gainwell and Hurts tank the game on that safety, then they went back to playing the defense where all they do is try to run more clock while the other team scores (making very little attempt to complete a tackle in the process).

Jalen Hurts tried to prove he cared a little bit and quickly led a drive down to the Tampa Bay 22, just for the team to take a two-yard loss and two penalties to setup 2nd and 22. They wound up with a turnover on downs as they tried to pass (shocking) the ball to Smith (shocking) – a play only every single person in the world could have seen coming.

That essentially wrapped up the game. There was plenty more garbage play to watch if that’s your thing, but none of it really mattered.

Now the real question can be answered: are Jeffery Laurie and Howie Roseman bright enough to immediately fire every one of these morons responsible for the worst offense and defense the league has ever seen, particularly with the star talent they have.

Offensive MVP: DeVonta Smith

Who else could you pick? The offense had only a few players doing well. One never saw a target, one was injured after his first few targets and a third didn’t get the ball enough. That leaves Smith, who Hurts tried to force every single throw to like the defense couldn’t figure it out. Still Smith overcame this mountain and recorded seven tackles for 141 yards.

Defensive MVP: Milton Williams

Williams still plays limited snaps, but he made a couple big plays in this one – including a run stuff on perhaps the only stuff completed by an Eagle solo in this game and a sack.

Game Notes

  • James Bradberry took a ton of flack for “allowing” a catch in the second quarter, when really he was making a great play. Unfortunately, he got picked by what appeared to be Nicholas Morrow. He read the play perfectly and probably would have had an interception there if he didn’t run into his teammate.
  • Fletcher Cox made a sack to force the lone punt from the Buccaneers in the first half and he really pissed off seemingly the entire Tampa Bay offense. It was nice to see anyone with some sort of fight on that defense.
  • For the entire first half, the Eagles had Julio Jones basically being given about six yards on every play. He wasn’t targeted for those throws until the second quarter when he was lead into a big hit.
  • Philadelphia didn’t have the timeouts they needed to complete the two-minute drill before the half. That’s because Eli Ricks was “slow to come off” on one play and fearing they’d take a penalty, the coaching staff took a timeout – after he was well off the field already.
  • The Eagles called two runs to start the game and garnered themselves a first down. Naturally, they then called exactly ONE run until the team was in the two-minute drill without their full compliment of timeouts (where they then ran for not enough yards and the inability to stop the clock).
  • If Cam Jurgens is supposed to be the center of the future, the Eagles may be in rough shape. He was easily the weakest link on that OL, messing up multiple plays. Out of all the centers that the team has drafted, this was probably the least impressive play from a rookie. The Birds will certainly hope he can make a big leap like Seumalo did after a few seasons in the league because his play was below league average at right guard.
  • There is absolutely no reason anyone would watch the tape from this game and come away with the idea Kenneth Gainwell is an NFL player. He was an absolute embarrassment from running backward, jogging in place to wait for tackles, catching 0-yard passes and running downfield. His highlight in this game was on a kick return where he “slowed the runners momentum”, which basically means he failed to make the tackle but happened to slow him down in the process. It’s an embarrassment how much this offense tried to run through a player who’s highlight is failing to make a tackle.
  • OZ and Jack Stoll came in and took over the role that Julio Jones voided with his injury. Unfortunately, Jalen Hurts must have an allergy for them or something because he spent the entire season actively trying not to throw it to them regardless of how open they are or how good the plays they made are. Neither was targeted even though they were open immediately on over half of their snaps as the Bucs secondary gave them seven or eight yards of cushion.
  • This epic collapse could be the last time that players like Jason Kelce or Fletcher Cox ever play in the league or for the Eagles.

Injury Notes

  • Julio Jones, who was wide open all night, finally started getting targets and Hurts lead him into the only defender in the vicinity. He left the field after the hit he suffered as a result. He did not return due to a concussion.
  • Darius Slay appeared to injure his back in the fourth quarter. There wasn’t a reason for him to return to such a garbage team so he could help them lose.
  • Dallas Goedert went down on a meaningless catch that got called back for a penalty. Again, there was no reason to send him back into the game.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – January 15, 2024

Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Eagles 0 9 0 0
Buccaneers 10 6 9 7


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