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The Philadelphia Eagles continued their red-hot start to the 2023 NFL season by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25–11 on Monday Night Football. In a battle between two of the league’s three remaining undefeated teams, the Eagles’ dominant rushing attack and stout defense proved too much for Tom Brady’s Buccaneers to overcome.
Despite battling an illness, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts gutted out a tough performance, throwing for 277 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for another score. Meanwhile, running back D’Andre Swift gashed the Bucs defense for 130 yards on the ground, continually moving the chains and keeping Tampa Bay’s offense on the sidelines.
With the win, Philadelphia improves to a perfect 3–0 record for the second straight year under head coach Nick Sirianni. They remain one of only three undefeated teams alongside the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers. However, Tampa Bay sees its dreams of an undefeated season come to an end after dropping to 2–1.
The Eagles Set the Tone Early
From the opening kickoff, it was clear Philadelphia came ready to play. The Eagles defense frantically chased down Bucs ball carriers and aggressively covered receivers, allowing Tampa Bay to gain just 13 yards in the entire first quarter.
On offense, Hurts looked inconsistent as he battled a fever and other flu-like symptoms . However, the rushing attack picked up the slack, with Swift breaking off runs of 11, 12 and 16 yards on Philadelphia’s first two possessions. Kicker Jake Elliott knocked through a pair of field goals to give the Eagles an early 6–0 lead.
Despite his illness, Hurts toughed it out and led a scoring drive late in the second quarter. He delivered a perfectly-placed 34-yard touchdown pass that dropped right into Olamide Zaccheaus’ hands in the back of the end zone. With Elliott’s extra point, Philadelphia took a 10–3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Swift Dominates on the Ground
While Hurts didn’t have his best stuff passing, he leaned on the ground game and Swift dominated between the tackles. The second-year back carried the ball 16 times for 130 yards, consistently gashing Tampa Bay’s run defense .
On one third quarter drive, Swift reeled off runs of 15, 10 and 11 yards to methodically drive the Eagles down the field. Hurts capped off the 81-yard drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, his second score on the ground already this season.
Philadelphia finished the night with over 200 rushing yards compared to just 41 for the Buccaneers . And that type of dominance on the ground kept Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense watching from the sidelines for long stretches.
Bucs Offense Goes Cold
After scoring over 21 points in back-to-back weeks, Brady and the Bucs offense never found their rhythm against Philadelphia’s tenacious defense. They punted on five straight possessions spanning from the first to third quarters.
Early in the second, Brady threw his first interception as a Buccaneer when Reed Blankenship stepped in front of a pass intended for Mike Evans. And just before halftime, Devin White intercepted Hurts but Tampa Bay gifted the ball right back on a sack and fumble on the ensuing plays.
While the defense kept Tampa Bay in the game, two more Brady turnovers doomed any hopes of a comeback. Dee Delaney intercepted a pass in the third quarter and on the next play, White was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Finally, in garbage time, Brady led a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a touchdown pass to Evans. But by then, the Eagles had built an insurmountable 25–11 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
Victory Extends Eagles Historic Start
The win marked Philadelphia’s 13th straight regular season victory dating back to last season. That’s the franchise’s longest winning streak since 2003–04 and ties them for the league’s longest active streak.
More importantly for their Super Bowl aspirations, the Eagles continue to prove they can win games even when Hurts isn’t at his best. And a suffocating defense is making their lives much easier on that side of the ball.
At 3–0, Philadelphia looks the part of a legitimate NFL title contender. They’ll enjoy their bye in Week 4 before hosting the 1–2 Jacksonville Jaguars on October 9th. A win there would push their record to a dominant 4–0.
As for the Buccaneers, they’ll need to regroup following their first loss under new starter Brady Mayfield. They drop to 2–1 and will try to bounce back on the road against the 2–1 Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday night.
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