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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hang On to Beat Philadelphia Eagles, 28-22

The Eagles made it interesting in the end, but couldn't finish the job.

Thursday Night Football wasn't kind to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-1) in 2020, but it was a different story against the Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) in Week 6 of the 2021 season.

The Bucs were able to overcome several key injuries, a short week on the road, and a late Philadelphia rally en route to the franchise's first 5-1 start since the 2005 season. Tampa Bay didn't cover the spread, but it'll take the win every single time.

Philadelphia won the toss but decided to defer, so the Bucs received the ball to start the game.

Tampa Bay's offense picked up right where it left off against the Dolphins. It took just three plays -the highlight being a 22-yard pass to Mike Evans- for Tom Brady to move his offense into Eagle territory. 

Brady hit Chris Godwin for a 16-yard gain a few plays later and the Bucs entered the red zone. The Eagles had a shot to hold the Bucs to three points soon after, but Godwin converted a 3rd 8 off a screen pass. Brady then hit a wide open O.J. Howard in the end zone for the game's first score. Ryan Succcop's PAT went through the uprights and the Bucs led, 7-0, with 9:26 to go in the first quarter.

It looked like the Eagles were about to start the game with a three-and-out, but Jalen Hurts bailed the offense out with an 11-yard scramble on 3rd and 7. Vita Vea sacked Hurts on the following play, but Hurts came through again. This time it was a 23-yard pass to Quez Watkins on 3rd and 12. Watkins made the catch despite Ross Cockrell tipping the ball. 

A personal foul on Miles Sanders put the Eagles in another hole, but the Eagles caught a break as Jamel Dean is called for defensive pass interference on Jalen Reagor, which gives the Eagles a 1st and goal at the Tampa Bay 5. Hurts then finds Zach Ertz wide open in the flat to give the Eagles offense its first touchdown of the game. Jake Elliott's PAT went through the uprights and the Bucs were tied with the Eagles, 7-7, with 6:01 left in the first quarter.

The Bucs offense quickly faced a 3rd and 2 on its next drive. Brady hit Godwin for an eight-yard gain and the Bucs never saw a third down again for the rest of the drive. That's because Brady avoided a collapsing pocket and found Antonio Brown down the field for a 23-yard touchdown to finish off a nine-play, 75-yard drive that made it a 14-7 game with :33 left in the first quarter.

Jordan Whitehead deflected a pass to Reagor on 3rd and 3 and the Eagles had to punt after three plays. Jaydon Mickens returned the ball 12-yards to the Tampa Bay 33 and that's where the next drive started.

Avante Maddox made a great tackle for loss on a swing pass to Brown, which forced a 3rd and 11 that the Bucs couldn't convert. Bradley Pinion punted the ball away and the Eagles started their next drive at their own 17.

The Eagles couldn't get anything going and went three-and-out, but so did the Bucs on their next drive. It looked like the Eagles defense came away with an interception, but the ruling was overturned and the Bucs punted.

Ertz broke the streak of three-and-outs on the Eagles next drive, but Jamel Dean intercepted Hurts' deep pass attempt to Watkins and the Bucs offense went back onto the field.

The Bucs didn't go three-and-out this time around. A 12-yard reception from Cameron Brate and then catch-and-runs of 14-, 18-, and 10-yards from Brown, Leonard Fournette, and Howard -in that respective order- helped the Bucs into the red zone. 

Tampa Bay converted a crucial 3rd and 1 from the Philly 4 and then Fournette punched it in on the next play and Succop drilled the PAT to extend the Bucs' lead to 21-7 with 1:56 left in the first half.

The Eagles offense continued to struggle and went three-and-out again. Brady and the Bucs received the ball with 1:21 on the clock and three timeouts, looking to extend the lead.

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That didn't happen thanks to an Anthony Harris interception that came via a deep pass attempt from Brady. He lateraled the ball to Darius Slay, who returned it to the Philadelphia 32 with :57 left in the first half.

The Eagles offense took the field with all three timeouts in their pockets, but it went three-and-out for the fourth time in the last five drives. The Bucs still had two timeouts, but elected to go into halftime with a 14-point lead instead of trying for more points.

Philadelphia started off the second half with the ball, but to the surprise of few, went three-and-out.

Fournette got the Bucs' following drive off to a good start with a 20-yard run on 3rd and 2 that put the Bucs at midfield. More help from Fournette and a 10-yard catch-and-run from Howard on a screen pass moved Tampa Bay into field goal range and gave the offense a fresh set of downs at the Philadelphia 24.

Another Howard reception gave the Bucs offense a 1st and goal at the Eagle 9. A DPI on Slay restarted the drive at the one-yard line and Fournette ran it in for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The PAT was good and the Bucs led, 28-7, with 5:47 left in the third quarter.

Hurts and the Eagles offense instantly benefitted from another big DPI call on the first play of their next drive. This time it was on Mike Edwards and it cost the Bucs 50 yards. The Eagles faced a big 4th and 3 six plays later, but Hurts was able to use his legs for a six-yard scramble into the end zone. The drive cut the deficit to 28-14 with 2:15 left in the third quarter after the PAT.

The Bucs left the door open for the Eagles to continue to climb back in it with a three-and-out on their next drive.

Hurts completed passes of 24- and 25-yards to Watkins and DeVonta Smith to move the offense into Tampa Bay territory. An 11-yard run from Sanders put the Eagles in field goal range and the Eagles would eventually rely on a 46-yard field goal attempt from Elliott. 

There would be no points on this drive as Elliot's kick sailed to the right. The Bucs took over at their own 28, up 28-14, with 12:38 left in the game.

A holding call on first down put the Bucs behind the chains. An 11-yard catch-and-run from Howard not only moved the Bucs into Eagle territory, but set the offense up with a 4th and 2. Bruce Arians decided to go for it and the Bucs came up short. The Eagles took over at their own 46 with 8:59 to go.

A Sanders reception and two runs instantly set the Eagles offense up with a 1st and 10 at the Tampa Bay 11. Two more runs set it up with a 1st goal from the 1 and then Hurts ran it into the end zone a few plays later. The Eagles decided to go for two instead of the PAT and Hurts found Watkins in the end zone to make it a 28-22 game with 5:54 left.

Fournette started off the drive with a three-yard run and the Bucs caught a huge break after the play when Genard Avery was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty gave the Bucs 15 yards and a first down. Brown gave the Bucs another first down two plays later to put the Eagles defense under more pressure to get a stop.

The chance for said stop presented itself in the form of a 3rd and 7 a few plays after Brown's reception. But Brown came through again with a 27-yard reception to move the Bucs down to the Philly 18. 

Brady then hit Brate for 10 yards to set up a 3rd and 1, which he converted via quarterback sneak. The Bucs would go on to win, 28-22.

Tampa Bay will host the Chicago Bears in Week 7. Kickoff is set for 4:25PM EST. 

Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.