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Eagles Soar, Then Crash: What Went Wrong in Tampa Bay?

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Eagles Soar Then Crash in Tampa Bay

The lights dimmed on the Eagles’ 2023 season in Tampa Bay on Monday night, extinguished by a crushing 32-9 loss to the Bucs. With six losses in their last seven games, the Eagles limp into the offseason, leaving behind a trail of unanswered questions and bittersweet memories.

1. A Crushing Turn: Late in the third quarter, a glimmer of hope flickered. Trailing 16-9, the Eagles seemed poised to claw their way back. But two soul-crushing plays – Hurts’ safety under pressure and Palmer’s 56-yard touchdown sprint – plunged them into a deep, demoralizing hole.

2. Offense Stalled: The Eagles’ offensive engine sputtered against Tampa Bay’s relentless blitz, generating a meager 11 first downs and 218 total yards. A single touchdown drive, fueled by Smith’s 55-yard catch and Goedert’s opportunistic score, offered a fleeting illusion of progress.

3. Smith Shines Through: Amidst the offensive malaise, DeVonta Smith was a beacon of brilliance. He snagged 8 passes for 148 yards, his talent a lone ember glowing in the ashes of the Eagles’ attack. But in this league, one star isn’t enough.

4. Bucs Blitz Bites: The Buccaneers’ relentless blitzing swarmed the Eagles all night, turning Hurts into a harried deer in headlights. With A.J. Brown sidelined, the lack of offensive weapons made every passing attempt a dagerous tightrope walk.

 Perry Knotts/Getty Images

5. Early Onslaught: Tampa Bay wasted no time, scoring on their first four possessions. Mayfield carved the Eagles’ secondary with surgical precision, while their defensive lapses allowed the Bucs to march down the field at will.

6. Missed Tackles, Missed Opportunities: The Eagles’ defense, riddled with missed tackles that had become a late-season theme, lost yardage. Tampa Bay exploited the porous secondary, racking up 337 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, with Mayfield averaging a staggering 9.4 yards per attempt.

7. Pointless Points: Twice the Eagles clawed back a point, only to squander the momentum. The failed two-point conversion and the ill-fated fourth-down attempt after Elliott’s field goal were reminders of a season punctuated by missed opportunities.

8. Hurts Harassed: Throughout the season, teams learned to contain Hurts’ ground game and pressure him with the blitz. Monday night was no different, as he managed a meager 5 rushing yards while facing constant pressure.

9. A Tale of Two Halves: Smith’s heroics and the early touchdown offered a glimpse of what could have been. But ultimately, the Eagles were a team in two halves – a first-half offensive mirage followed by a second-half defensive nightmare.

10. Farewell, 2023: As the clock ticked down, a season filled with unfulfilled potential faded into the past. The Eagles, battered and bruised, enter the offseason with a mountain to climb. But somewhere, under the rubble of disappointment, lies a chance to rebuild, to learn, and to rise again.

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