Eagles grades by position after playoff loss to Bucs originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
That didn’t go well.
Maybe the Eagles were playing with house money and you knew it would take nearly a perfect game to take down Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs. But instead, the Eagles were awful in every phase of the game on Sunday afternoon.
They lost to the Buccaneers 31-15 and it wasn’t that close.
Jalen Hurts: 23/43, 258 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 8 carries, 39 yards
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Hurts’ final numbers weren’t awful but if you watched that game, you understand why he’s getting a failing great. He really struggled on Sunday in a lot of the areas of concern that have persisted with him early in his NFL career. He made poor decisions, missed open receivers struggled to navigate the pocket. Overall, he improved a ton over his season as the Eagles’ starter and probably deserves to run it back in 2022. But ending it on this kind of note is disappointing.
Miles Sanders: 7 carries, 16 yards; 3 receptions, 12 yards
Boston Scott had one 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and led the running backs group in rushing yards. The Eagles had been dominant running the ball for half the year but that dried up in the playoffs against the Bucs. Sanders returned from a broken hand but didn’t have much success. The one positive from this group was Kenny Gainwell’s five catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.
DeVonta Smith: 4 catches on 11 targets, 60 yards
The Eagles traded up in April to draft DeVonta Smith, he’s been their best receiver all year and is one of a few guys on this team with true superstar potential. And he wasn’t targeted until there were just 2 minutes left in the first half. That just simply can’t happen. Eventually, he made plays and Quez Watkins has a great catch down the field, but he also seemed to make a few route running mistakes. And they’re just not getting anything from Jalen Reagor. This team needs to bring in another receiver this offseason.
Dallas Goedert: 6 catches on 12 targets, 92 yards
Goedert missed the last Bucs game but had a good stat line in this one. But he also had a drop on what I thought was one of Hurts’ more impressive plays of the afternoon.
Without Nate Herbig, the Eagles had Sua Opeta fill in at right guard. I didn’t notice him, so that’s a good sign. The run game couldn’t get going against the Bucs but they did a good enough job of protecting Hurts in the pocket. As great as Jason Kelce is, that matchup against Vita Vea was a tough one.
Ryan Kerrigan: 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 QB hits, 2 TFLs
The Eagles’ DL actually played a pretty decent game, sacking Tom Brady four times. They also had some success stopping the run. The Bucs broke off a 17-yard run to open the game but finished with an average gain of 3.4 yards the ground. Give credit to Kerrigan, who had just three tackles all season; he saved his best game for the playoffs and filled in nicely for Josh Sweat.
Alex Singleton: 16 tackles, 1 sacks, 1 QB hit, 4 TFLs
The Eagles lost T.J. Edwards to a forearm injury in the first half and he was unable to return. They ended up going with a lot of dime in the second half because of it. Singleton filled up the stat sheet but also got picked on in coverage.
Anthony Harris: 13 tackles
Tough game to grade from the secondary because Brady is a surgeon. He completed 29 of 37 passes for 271 yards and 2 touchdown. Ho hum. Darius Slay played well in coverage but the Bucs found ways to get Mike Evans away from him and Evans ended up with 117 yards and a touchdown.
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Jalen Reagor: 5 punt returns, 35 yards, long of 31, 1 muffed punt
Awful performance from the special teams units. Arryn Siposs ended up having a 58-yard punt and downed two inside the 20 but that doesn’t excuse his two shanks. One went 27 yards and the other went 36. You can’t give Brady a short field and Siposs did that twice. And then there’s Reagor who made a couple mistakes but none this season was worse than the punt he muffed in the third quarter. The Eagles’ defense just got a stop and instead of driving to cut the lead, the Bucs scored a touchdown to put them up 24-0 and to put the game out of reach. Awful.
I actually thought the offensive struggles in this game were more about execution than they were game planning and play calls, but the Eagles came out with another slow start and you have to just blame the coaching staff at a certain point. How are these guys not ready to play from the opening kick in a playoff game? On defense, Jonathan Gannon adjusted and it helped but this game was over after those long drives early.