The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense has stalled out in the last three weeks and missed opportunities mixed with a bad defense is a recipe for a loss. The Eagles came into Tampa wounded and on an eight-game losing streak, but rookie Nick Foles and the Eagles offense scored a last second touchdown to beat the Bucs and spoil the 10-year anniversary Super Bowl celebration.
The first quarter was filled with incomplete passes and punts as both teams could barely move the ball on offense.
A Philadelphia field goal by Alex Henery and a touchdown run by quarterback Nick Foles gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead going into halftime.
In the second half the Bucs opening drive once again led to a punt, but the ball was dropped by Eagles returner Demaris Johnson and recovered by Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson at the Eagles 5-yard-line. Josh Freeman hooked up with Mike Williams for a one-yard touchdown and the Bucs trailed by three.
Tampa Bay scored quickly after the start of the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass from Freeman to Vincent Jackson. The Buccaneers defense was able to put constant pressure on the Eagles rookie quarterback as Michael Bennett and Gerald McCoy each recorded two sacks. The Bucs finished with six sacks and gave up only 29-yards rushing.
However, the pass defense and the offense once again failed to close out an opponent. After a Doug Martin touchdown run gave the Bucs a 21-10 lead the Eagles were able to storm back. With seven minutes to play the Eagles offense quickly drove down the field and scored on an 11-yard pass to tight end Clay Harbor. After failing to score on the two-point conversion the Buccaneers took the ball with just under four minutes to play.
When the Buccaneers came back to beat the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago it was largely due to the fact that the Panthers ran the ball and punted. Instead of trying for a few first downs to end the game the Panthers depended on their defense. The Bucs tied the game and eventually won in overtime. That should have been a lesson for Greg Schiano and the coaching staff to not let NFL teams hang around.
With four minutes left the Bucs tried to run the clock out, Doug Martin ran for 11-yards on the first play and then an offensive holding penalty two plays later negated the progress and stopped the clock. A 9-yard run on second-and-17 gave the Bucs an opportunity to throw for the first down and effectively end the game. Instead, Martin gained zero yards on third down and the Bucs punted to seal their fate.
Foles led the Eagles on a 13-play game-winning drive highlighted by a deep pass to Jason Avant to put the ball on the 1-yard line, after Foles spiked the ball two seconds remained on the clock. The next play may have ended the Buccaneers playoff hopes for the 2012 season, Foles rolled to his right and completed the drive with a pass to Jeremy Maclin to give Philadelphia the win.
The Buccaneers offense played to lose and for the first half was just plain out of sync. Freeman finished with only 189-yards passing and two touchdowns, he completed 14 passes and many of his throws were erratic and inaccurate. Doug Martin regained his early season form and finished with 128-yards rushing and a touchdown. Vincent Jackson was Freeman’s only consistent target as the receiver finished with 131-yards on six catches.
Nick Foles finished with 381-yards passing and three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. The Bucs secondary continues to be the weakest spot on the roster as Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin each finished with over 100-yards receiving. Penalties once again hurt Tampa Bay as offensive holding, illegal formations and false start fouls stalled many of the Bucs drives, the Bucs had eight penalties totaling 60-yards. The Bucs offense converted only 37% of third-downs and if not for Martin would have been completely ineffective.
The loss puts the Buccaneers record at 6-7 and wins by the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings forces the Bucs to run-the-table and hope for a little luck to make the playoffs. The performance against Philadelphia proves that this Bucs squad isn’t ready for the postseason.