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Buccaneers take down struggling Eagles as Baker Mayfield tosses 3 touchdowns to move on in playoffs

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers throttled the Philadelphia Eagles, 32-9, to move on to the divisional round. 

Tampa will now travel to face the Detroit Lions next week. 

David Moore, the six-year veteran who had just five catches for 94 yards with a touchdown during the regular season, was the first to find the end zone in this one thanks to shotty Eagles tackling.

After the Bucs kicked a field in the opening possession of the game, they forced a punt on the Eagles that set up a chance to pull away early. That’s exactly what Baker Mayfield did when he found Moore streaking through the middle of the field. 

Two Eagles defenders collided, allowing Moore to get tons of opening field with blockers ahead. Still, Philly had a chance to tackle Moore with multiple defenders around him. However, he slipped out of a few attempts and scurried into the end zone for a 44-yard score. 

And it was quite the birthday present for Moore, who turned 29 on Monday. 

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The Bucs were able to score on their first four drives, though three of the four were field goals. That left the Eagles in the game, where they got a field goal of their own before Dallas Goedert scored a short touchdown. 

However, the Eagles’ struggles on Monday night could be wrapped up in a single play: A rare, failed “Tush Push.”

After the Bucs jumped offsides on the extra point following Goedert’s touchdown, Jalen Hurts set up for his classic quarterback sneak. But the Bucs were able to snuff it out despite the high success rate when the Eagles run it to keep the game at 16-9. 

In the second half, both teams struggled to get anything going on offense, but points still got on the board when the Bucs’ defense forced an intentional grounding from Hurts, who was in the end zone. 

As a result, it’s an automatic safety, making it 18-9.

Then, just two plays later, Bucs rookie receiver Trey Palmer turned on the jets after catching a short pass from Mayfield and making Eagles corner James Bradberry miss a tackle, scoring a 56-yard touchdown. 

With a 25-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Bucs knew they just needed to continue providing pressure on defense. Meanwhile, the Eagles just continued to hurt themselves, getting into Bucs’ territory and committing penalties. 

It happened on the ensuing drive, where the Eagles found themselves at third-and-21. They ended up getting it to 4th-and-5, but Hurts couldn’t find DeVonta Smith, his leading receiver with A.J. Brown sidelined with a knee injury, for the score. 

Jalen Hurts throws ball

Then came the dagger drive for Mayfield and the Bucs’ offense, as they killed over six minutes worth of clock in the fourth quarter and it ended with a 23-yard strike to Chris Godwin to make it 32-9 with 5:42 left to play. 

This was the first true playoff victory for Mayfield, who had a tiebreaker with the Cleveland Browns during the 2020 season that ended with a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Mayfield finished with 337 yards through the air on 22-of-36 passing with three touchdowns and no interceptions. And while he didn’t have a touchdown, tight end Cade Otton was Mayfield’s top target, hauling in eight of his 11 targets for 89 yards. 

Mike Evans also finished with three catches for 48 yards, though he could’ve had more with a couple of drops in the first half, one of which came close to the end zone.

For the Eagles, Smith was a bright light in a rather dim performance offensively, as he had 148 yards on eight catches. Hurts finished 25-of-35 for 250 yards with one touchdown. The Bucs also kept him to just five rushing yards on a single attempt. 

Baker Mayfield throws ball

The reigning NFC champions are out of the playoffs just like that, as the Bucs will look to play spoiler against the Lions next week. 

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