TAMPA — It was a fitting way to end one of the biggest collapses in NFL history.
Many of the same issues that plagued the Eagles during their late-season slump resurfaced Monday night in an embarrassing 32-9 wild-card loss to the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
I've gotten used to saying things like this, but my grades aren't that great.
Jalen Hurts: 25/35, 250 yards, 1TD
If you just looked at the stat sheet, you might think Hearts had a pretty good game. he didn't. The Eagles' offense was stuck in quicksand for most of Monday night, and their quarterback was far from getting out of it. He hit a beautiful deep ball to DeVonta Smith, but that was it. The safety Hurts took in the third quarter was a backbreaker. This extended the Buccaneers' lead to two points, and they scored another touchdown on the ensuing drive. ball game. Hurts somehow got a safety on a play that started at the Eagles' 14-yard line. The veteran quarterback's situational awareness on the big stage is inexcusable. And even a few plays earlier, Hurts failed to block Kenny Gainwell for a six-yard loss. During the regular season, yes, Hurts has to stay out of the way. In the playoffs? I have to block it. The Eagles' quarterback will regress in 2023 and they will have to get him back on track in 2024.
D'Andre Swift: 10 carries, 34 yards
In games without AJ Brown, it might have made sense for the Eagles to rely on their rushing attack. After all, they gained 201 yards on the ground against the Bucs in Week 3. However, the run game was relatively ineffective, and the Eagles got away with it before losing significantly in this game. Swift is one of the better players offensively and should have played a bigger role in this game. I mentioned Gainwell's play earlier, but that was a big loss of 6 yards in a backed-up situation.
DeVonta Smith: 8 catches on 12 targets, 148 yards
At least one man showed up. Smith had a great night, setting a record for receiving yards in a playoff game. As a 2021 draft pick, Smith has played three seasons in the NFL and is eligible for a contract extension. Howie Roseman should pay that guy. He's already a really good player, but he's probably underutilized in this offense. Without Brown, there isn't much to show from the other receivers. Julio Jones had three catches for 22 yards, but suffered a concussion on a 14-yard catch in the first half. Give him credit for continuing to play football. It may have been the future Hall of Famer's last NFL game.
Dallas Goedert: 4 catches on 6 targets, 21 yards, 1 TD
Without Brown, it would have made sense for Goedert to play a bigger role, but that didn't materialize either. His number was pedestrian. The Eagles used about 12 personnel for this game, but it didn't work either. Goedert and Hurts seemed to get into it on the sideline. When asked about the moment after the game, Goedert downplayed it.
Perhaps the Eagles' biggest problem in this game wasn't the offensive line, but they didn't have anyone good on offense except Smith. The Eagles still struggle against blitzes, and while there's a lot of blame for that, some of the blame should be on the offensive line. It appears this was Jason Kelce's last NFL game, and it's a shame he has to go out like this.
Brandon Graham: 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 3 TFLs
The Eagles defensive line finally got some significant sacks. Milton Williams' play pushing the Buccaneers out of field goal range was a big play when he made it. But the Bucs still ran for 119 yards in this game, and there were plenty of moments where Mayfield wasn't under as much pressure as he should have been.
Nick Morrow: 10 tackles, 1 TFL
It will be interesting to see if this season forces Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to re-evaluate the positional values the Eagles have valued over the past few decades. Because it's one thing not to put crazy resources into the linebacker position, but it's been really bad this year. The Eagles' top linebackers all season were Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham. One did not make the 53-man roster, and the other was signed on August 6th. It's no surprise that Cade Otton (Cade Freaking Otton) crushed this team on Monday.
Avonte Maddox: 7 tackles
Mayfield, who suffered rib and ankle injuries, threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. Imagine what would have happened if the Bucks didn't drop a ton of passes in this game. In this second test, the answer was zero. One thing they tried was eventually benching James Bradberry at base defense at times, but even that didn't work. The crazy thing is, Mike Evans didn't kill the Eagles by himself. Five different backs had more than his 45 receiving yards. This was a complete team failure and no tackle was made in this match.
Braden Mann: 4 punts, 47.0 average
The Eagles' special teams unit has been solid all year, but they still had some tough moments in this game. Britten Covey nixed a punt return and nearly turned the ball over. Mann's 47.0 yard average isn't bad, but he had an ugly 35 yards and a better punt would have pinned the Bucs deep. At least Jake Elliott attempted a field goal.
Record: 11 wins, 7 losses
The Eagles have always been a poorly coached football team, so it's no surprise that they were also a poorly coached football team when they lost in the playoffs. The Eagles' defense has been abysmal for a long time, and it's clear they need to find a new defensive coordinator. The big question is whether they will look for a new head coach. Nick Sirianni led this team in last year's Super Bowl, but watching the Eagles crumble late and lose the game in embarrassing fashion opened the door to questions about his future. It could be an interesting few weeks at the NovaCare Complex.
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