Nick Foles leads the Eagles to a 31-20 victory,the team’s third win of the season, the second of his career, and his second in Tampa Bay. Philly became just the third team in the history of the NFL to accumulate over 400 yards of total offense through their first six games of the season (the Broncos would become the fourth later that afternoon). They moved the ball well in spurts during their trip down to Florida and Foles did look pretty good on Sunday, however the Eagles heavily benefited from some sloppy play on the other side of the ball. Tampa Bay was flagged eight times for 72 yards and their offense was constantly in 2nd and 3rd and long situations. Needless to say, Clete Blakeman and his crew were the worst enemies for the Buccaneers on this day and pretty good allies to the Eagles.
The Bucs really had some moderate success on offense. Following three and outs on two of their first three possessions, they were able to string some drives together. The time of possession ended up being in their favor for the game (33:46-26:14), due in large part to a 7:15 16-play, 87 yard drive that took Tampa Bay down the field from their own 1 yard line, The one saving grace for the Eagles was the fact that they were able hold down the fort and force the Buccaneers to kick a field goal (which, at the time, brought them within one point at 21-20). Luckily for Philadelphia fans, the team was able to answer that monster drive with a three play, 80 yard drive (taking just 1:16). And you wondered why the Eagles seemingly never win the time of possession battle. It is interesting to note that their average touchdown drive in this game was six plays, 71 yards, and took just 2:27… now that’s fast. However, outside of those scoring drives (as well as the late field goal drive) the Philly offense was not overly dominant.
It seems like opposing quarterbacks are picking out one or two receivers they really like when playing Billy Davis’s unit and are continually hitting them up. This week, rookie quarterback Mike Glennon was finding Vincent Jackson and Tim Wright. Jackson was pretty dominant on the outside, as he earned himself two receiving touchdowns and picked up a couple of key first downs throughout the duration of this contest with his nine receptions and 114 yards. Wright was more of a safety valve in this one, providing the hands for seven catches for 91 yards. Many of the young tight end’s receptions came despite great coverage (minus the 36 yard gash early in the third quarter), The Eagles decided to blitz the young quarterback on a number of different occasions, and the Tampa Bay offensive line did a pretty good job picking up overloads. Doug Martin nearly killed himself on a couple of A-gappers on third down, but he was able to get the job done. Glennon played some pretty good ball on Sunday. His one blemish (the interception) was more his receivers fault than his own. Tiquan Underwood was supposed to run an arrow route to the middle of the field. Instead of dragging across the face of the defense, he decided to post up and Glennon wasn’t expecting that so when he let the ball loose his receiver was not in the area and the ball sailed into the waiting arms of Bradley Fletcher.
The Buccaneers did play a pretty good game on offense, but let’s not get this twisted: Nick Foles shined in this contest. In his limited action this season he has thrown more touchdowns than Michael Vick has (6 to 5) and his quarterback rating is well over 100. LeSean McCoy ran the ball well behind some excellent blocking, but the story here had to be Foles’ four total touchdowns. He hooked up with DeSean Jackson twice (for 36 and 12 yards respectively) and he hit a homerun on a deep ball to Riley Cooper for 47 yards. Nick has shown great touch on his deep passes (this going back to 2012 as well) and he has proven that he can make good decisions with the football. Many expected the Philly offense to take a step back without Vick there to present an extra element, but instead it held steady. The one turnover that occurred came on a LeSean McCoy fumble early in the first quarter. Other than that, the Eagles played a pretty clean game.
Things must seem pretty good for Philadelphia fans at the moment. The team has won two in a row and are tied for first place in the NFC East with a chance to take the lead next week against the Cowboys. They still boast the #1 rushing attack in the game today, and Foles just shredded the Bucs for 296 yards, so it is clear that this offense can move the ball in whatever way it chooses. Now, Tampa Bay had a shot to win this one had it not been for some undisciplined play and untimely miscues. Their offense did not look too shabby and the franchise can feel confident building around Mike Glennon for the future; this guy looked good and was delivering a lot of accurate passes all afternoon. The Bucs are still in search of their first win of the season and will try to pick it up next week against Atlanta. This was a pretty satisfying for the Eagles though as they now know for sure that Nick Foles can win them a game under Chip Kelly, which is always crucial given Michael Vick’s injury history.