TAMPA, Fla (FNN SPORTS) – Raymond James Stadium was abuzz Sunday to watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host NFL Champions the Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa returned home with the wind in their sails after winning their first season match in New Orleans against the Saints. Philadelphia came into Sunday’s match with a 18-12 win against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Buccaneers wasted literally no time scoring, getting on the board with their first play. Fitzpatrick fired off a 75-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, who rushed past two Eagles to find the end zone–the longest opening play from scrimmage in Buccaneers franchise history.
On the Bucs’ next scoring series, the Eagles were able to sack Fitzpatrick, causing a 7-yard loss.
The Eagles sustained a series of penalties that found them at 3rd and 41 with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
With less than a minute left in the first, Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles fired off the ball the moment Kwon Alexander tackled him, resulting in a fumble, which the Bucs recovered. However, the Eagles flipped that around in the next play: Fitzpatrick passed to Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard, which resulted in an interception by Eagles corner back Ronald Darby. On the next play, Foles was sacked by Jason Pierre-Paul.
In the second quarter, the Eagles scored their first touchdown with running back Cory Clement’s 15-yard carry, tying the game at 7-7.
With five minutes left in the half, O.J. Howard completed Fitzpatrick’s 75-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead 13-7.
The Buccaneers scored their third touchdown with less than a minute left in the half with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin, making the score 20-7.
The Eagles used their timeouts to stretch the clock and create another opportunity to score as best they could. Tampa used all of their timeouts as well, and in the final few seconds of the half, Philadelphia attempted but missed a field goal, leaving the score 20-7 at halftime.
In the first half, OJ Howard led in pass receiving with 90 yards while Philly’s Zack Ertz led with 68 yards. In rushing, Shaun Wilson led for Tampa with 9 yards while Philly’s Smallwood led with 24 yards.
The Buccaneers made a splash in the third quarter with 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Evans, bringing Tampa Bay’s lead to 20 points, 27-7.
On the Eagles’ next drive, Bucs offensive tackle sacked Foles for a 9-yard loss.
With just over two left in the third quarter, the Eagles began a fierce battle for the endzone, starting with a 50-yard pass to Nelson Agholor. However, the Bucs were able to break up a touchdown pass meant for Zack Ertz that would’ve narrowed the Bucs’ lead. Even with the next snap to Clement, the Bucs ran him out of bounds before he could gain too many yards. Foles gained some more for the Eagles with the next pass to Agholor, and at the end zone, Jay Ajayi ran the ball in two yards for the Eagles’ second touchdown, making the score 27-14 at the end of the third.
In the fourth, the Eagles’ Angolor completed a two-yard touchdown pass for their third, bringing the score to 27-21 (Tampa) with less than three minutes left in the fourth, which became the final score.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org