WHAT HAPPENED IN TAMPA BAY’S 23-21 LOSS VS. PHILADELPHIA?
During the Buccaneers’ heyday in the 2000s, the Philadelphia Eagles proved tough to beat. Former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy was 0-3 against Philadelphia in 2000-01 and it cost him his job. Even under head coach Jon Gruden, the Bucs lost to Philadelphia during the 2002 regular season before Tampa Bay extracted some revenge in the 2002 NFC Championship Game en route to the team’s first and only Super Bowl championship.
Before a sold out crowd at Raymond James Stadium with Gruden and with the Buccaneers 2002 Super Bowl championship team in attendance for its 10-year reunion, Tampa Bay was trying to resume its role of Philly beaters against the 3-9 Eagles, but to no avail. Philadelphia built a 10-0 halftime lead thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run by rookie quarterback Nick Foles before trailing Tampa Bay 21-10 in the fourth quarter after the Bucs scored three straight touchdowns.
Yet the Eagles’ third-round pick in 2012 led two late touchdown drives, including the game-winner, which was a 1-yard TD strike to Jeremy Maclin, who had nine catches for 104 yards, as time expired to lift Philadelphia past Tampa Bay, 23-21. The stunning loss drops Tampa Bay to 6-7 on the season and essentially knocks the Bucs out of the playoff race, while the Eagles snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Despite being sacked six times by Tampa Bay, Foles was heroic while completing 32-of-51 passes for 381 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in leading the Eagles to a come-from-behind victory. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and defensive end Michael Bennett each had two sacks for the Bucs defensive line, which was dominant throughout the game, but couldn’t get Foles on the ground in the game’s final minute.
After Foles scrambled for three yards on fourth-and-1 down to the Tampa Bay 28, defensive lineman Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was flagged for being the 12th man on the field as the Eagles were attempting to spike the ball. That gave Philadelphia a first-and-5 situation at the Tampa Bay 23 with 35 seconds left. On third-and-5 from the 23 with 20 seconds left, Bucs cornerback Danny Gorrer dropped an interception on a pass intended for Marvin McNutt. That drop would prove costly as it could have ended the game and clinched a victory for Tampa Bay.
On fourth-and-5, Foles found wide receiver Jason Avant, who had killed the Bucs with seven catches for 133 yards, with a 22-yard strike down to the Tampa Bay 1 with seven seconds left. Foles spiked the ball with two seconds left before hitting Maclin with the game-winning pass in front of rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson as time expired.
“Throughout the game we had penalties,” said Bucs head coach Greg Schiano, noting that his team was flagged eight times for 60 yards. “We had our hands on some balls we just didn’t catch. At the end of the day we didn’t play well and we didn’t coach well enough and that falls on me.”
Foles clearly outplayed Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who had a horrible first half, completing just 5-of-16 passes for 61 yards. Freeman rebounded a bit in the second half and led the Bucs to three touchdowns, but never got in total rhythm as he finished the game completing just 14-of-34 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns, including a 1-yard score to Mike Williams in the third quarter, and no interceptions.
“I’ll have to watch the tape,” Schiano said regarding Freeman’s errant throws. “He seemed to make some throws where he just didn’t seem himself.”
“I started off kind of slow,” Freeman said. “I felt pretty sharp and locked in, but there was the post to Mike and a couple other balls [that were missed]. It was frustrating.”
After catching two passes for 44 yards in the first half, Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson erupted in the second half and helped Freeman by hauling in gains of 28 and 40 yards, in addition to a 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put Tampa Bay up 14-10. Jackson finished the day with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. It was his fourth 100-yard game as a Buccaneer.
Rookie running back Doug Martin also got going in the second half. After being held to 34 yards on nine carries in the first half, Martin totaled 94 yards rushing in the second half and finished the day with 28 carries for 128 yards and a 4-yard touchdown that increased Tampa Bay’s lead to 21-10 with 7:21 left in regulation.
While the defense surrendered two fourth quarter touchdowns, Tampa Bay’s offense had a chance to salt the game away on third-and-8 from its own 33-yard line with 2:55 left. Instead of throwing the ball and trying to pick up the first down, Schiano called for a running play to Martin that was stopped for no gain. That play forced Philadelphia to use its last timeout with 2:51 left in regulation.
“That’s either a feast or famine run, but we just didn’t pop it,” Schiano said. “There’s two ways to play it – you can try to throw the ball or run the ball and make them use their timeout or let the clock tick. We put it on the defense and we didn’t get the stop. … At the end of the day we had too many mistakes to win an NFL football game.”
“At that point in time it was about getting Philly to burn their timeouts,” Freeman said. “Doug was popping some big runs. You can’t second guess that.”
Solid second-half performances by Jackson and Martin weren’t enough as Tampa Bay lost its third straight game and fell below .500. It could have been worse as the Bucs benefited from two missed field goals by Eagles kicker Alex Henery.
“Today Philly found more ways to make more plays than us,” Freeman said.
Tampa Bay will attempt to regain its winning ways in New Orleans next week and salvage any hope for at least a winning record with the playoffs now seemingly out of reach.HOW DID THE TEAMS SCORE? – BUCS vs. BRONCOS SCORING SERIES
Second Quarter – Eagles 3, Buccaneers 0
After a scoreless first quarter, the Eagles got on the scoreboard first following a 33-yard, nine-play drive that culminated in a 28-yard field goal by Alex Henry. The big plays on the drive were a 20-yard, one-handed catch by Jason Avant on third-and-17 and an 11-yard run down to the Tampa Bay 9 by Bryce Brown. But the Bucs defense stiffened in the red zone and forced a field goal on third-and-10.Second Quarter – Eagles 10, Buccaneers 0
The Eagles drove 80 yards before halftime to take a 10-0 lead following a 10-yard touchdown run on a QB bootleg by Nick Foles. The rookie quarterback was 5-of-5 for 66 yards, including a 39-yard strike to Avant on third-and-4 down to the Tampa Bay 10-yard line to set up Foles’ touchdown run.Third Quarter – Eagles 10, Buccaneers 7
After Demaris Johnson muffed a punt at the Philadelphia 5-yard line, Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson recovered for Tampa Bay, setting the team up with great field position. After a 4-yard run by running back Doug Martin, Josh Freeman hit wide receiver Mike Williams with a touchdown on third-and-1 to pull Tampa Bay to within three points as Philadelphia’s lead was trimmed to 10-7.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 14, Eagles 10
The Buccaneers took the lead following a 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that culminated with Freeman hooking up with Vincent Jackson for a 13-yard touchdown. Jackson also had catches of six and 40 yards to move the chains and get the Bucs into scoring territory.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 21, Eagles 10
Tampa Bay marched 75 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown to go up two scores. Martin rushed for 18 yards on three carries to set up a third-and-9 at the Tampa Bay 44 that Freeman converted with a 13-yard scramble. On third-and-7 from the Philadelphia 40, Freeman hit Jackson with a 28-yard pass down to the Philadelphia 12. After runs of five and three yards, Martin punched it in for four yards out to give the Bucs a 21-10 lead.Fourth Quarter – Buccaneers 21, Eagles 16
Foles drove the Eagles 72 yards in 10 plays to pull within a touchdown. The big plays on the drive were a 24-yard screen pass to Maclin and a big 22-yard toss to Maclin on third-and-10 down to the Tampa Bay 26. On the next play, Foles connected with Avant for a 12-yard pass down to the Tampa Bay 14. Three plays later on third-and-7 from the Tampa Bay 11, Foles hit tight end Clay Harbor for a touchdown to pull Philadelphia within a touchdown of Tampa Bay. Foles’ two-point conversion pass was no good.Fourth Quarter – Eagles 23, Buccaneers 21
Taking over at their own 32-yard line with 2:44 left, the Eagles marched 64 yards for the game-winning score. On third-and-14, Foles hit Maclin for a 23-yard gain down to the Tampa Bay 45. Maclin also came up with a 9-yard gain to set up fourth-and-1 at the Tampa Bay 31 and Foles converted that into a first down with a 3-yard scramble. Backup cornerback Danny Gorrer had a chance to end the game with an interception on third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 23, but dropped Foles’ pass. On fourth-and-5, Foles hit Avant for a 22-yard gain down to the Bucs’ 1-yard line with two seconds left. On the game’s final play, Foles found Maclin in the front right corner of the end zone for the game-winner. The Bucs also helped the Eagles with two five-yard penalties on their final touchdown drive. Gorrer was flagged five yards for defensive holding and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was penalized five yards for being the 12th man on the field.WHAT WAS NOTABLE ABOUT SUNDAY’S GAME FOR THE BUCS?
Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett recorded two sacks and now has nine on the year, which is a personal best and leads the team. … Bucs defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, a former Eagle, got into the act with his third sack of the season. … Bucs rookie linebacker Lavonte David had his first career sack on Sunday as the Bucs totaled six sacks, their most in a game since their contest at San Francisco in 2010. … Tampa Bay punt returner Roscoe Parrish had his best day as a Buccaneer, returning four punts for 63 yards, including a season-long 30-yarder. … Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson finished the game with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. It was his fourth 100-yard game as a Buccaneer. … Rookie running back Doug Martin rushed for 128 yards on 28 carries and it was his fourth 100-yard game in the NFL. Martin broke Cadillac Williams’ rookie rushing mark of 1,178 yards set in 2005 and now has 1,234 yards rushing in 2012. Martin also rushed for his 10th career touchdown, which ranks third in team history behind Errict Rhett (11 in 1995) and James Wilder (13 in 1984).WHO WAS THE PEWTERREPORT.COM BUCS MVP?
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who was a Buccaneers fan growing up in Oklahoma, was inspired by the presence of legendary Tampa Bay defensive tackle Warren Sapp and the 2002 Super Bowl championship team, which was celebrating its 10-year reunion at halftime of Sunday’s game, with his play today. PewterReport.com caught up with Sapp at halftime and asked him about McCoy’s big day and what inspirational words he said to the young Bucs defensive tackle.
“I told him I hadn’t been to this stadium in 10 years and he better put on a show today and make the trip worthwhile,” Sapp said.
McCoy did just that as he notched his fourth and fifth sacks of the season and his first QB capture since Week 3 against Dallas when he also posted two sacks of quarterback Tony Romo. McCoy had his best day in the NFL with five tackles, three tackles for loss, three quarterback pressures and two sacks, and is this week’s PewterReport.com Bucs MVP.WHICH BUCCANEERS WERE INACTIVE?
Bucs' inactives against the Eagles were: RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, WR David Gilreath, WR David Douglas, CB LeQuan Lewis, DT Roy Miller and DT Matthew Masifilo.
Eagles’ inactives against the Bucs were: QB Michael Vick, WR Greg Salas, RB LeSean McCoy, RB Carlos Polk, S Kurt Coleman, DT Mike Patterson and OT Matt Kopa.WHICH BUCS GOT HURT?
Bucs cornerback Anthony Gaitor was briefly shaken up in the first quarter, but returned to the game.
Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy hurt his right shoulder and left the game momentarily in the fourth quarter before returning.WHAT WILL UPSET GREG SCHIANO WHEN HE WATCHES THE FILM?
• Schiano might be second-guessing his call to run the ball on third-and-8 with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter. Instead of trying to throw the ball for the first down, Doug Martin got stuffed for no gain and the Bucs had to punt the ball to the Eagles.
• Center Ted Larsen had two big penalties – a personal foul and a holding call – that cost Tampa Bay’s offense 25 yards.
• Tampa Bay was scoreless at halftime for the first time this season, and the offense totaled just 79 yards and converted only one third down (1-of-8 for 13 percent).
• Punter Michael Koenen only got off a 31-yard punt down to the Philadelphia 36-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Instead of pinning the Eagles deep for their final drive, Philadelphia had good field position to start their touchdown drive.
• The Bucs got flagged for a 12th man on the field call with 35 seconds left when defensive end Daniel Te’o Nesheim couldn’t get off the field prior to Nick Foles’ spiking the ball. What prompted the Bucs to substitute on a play in which the Eagles were going to naturally spike the ball? That penalty gave the Eagles an extra five yards.
• Cornerback Danny Gorrer had a chance to end the game with an interception, but dropped the ball on third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 23 with less than 20 seconds left.WHAT’S UP NEXT FOR THE BUCS?
Tampa Bay (6-7) travels to New Orleans to play the Saints (5-8) on Sunday, December 16 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox.
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