TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Brady was thrown for 271 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers start their bids to return to the Super Bowl with a 31-15 NFC wild card playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The reigning champions set the pace from the start, with Brady driving a pair of long TD drivers in the first quarter to extend the lead to 17-0 before the break.
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Rob Gronkovsky finished the Eagles with 2 yards and Mike Evans 36 yards TD passes, raising his dazzling playoff record to 35-11 at the start of 46 postseason. The Bucs ’defense did its job, and also caught Jalen Hurts twice in the Philadelphia midfielder’s playoff debut.
Brady made 29 of his 37 passes without hindrance, bringing his post-season record for TD passes to 85.
But the Super Bowl, dominated by the Bucs (14-4), resolved the issues well until they found MVP Gronkovski wide open in the middle of the final zone to make it 24-0 in the middle of the third quarter. The 6-foot-5 Evans determined his TD catch with a front turn over the goal line for 31-0.
The Eagles (9-9) scored in the fourth quarter in Boston Scott’s 34-yard run and Hurts ’16-yard TD move to Kenneth Gainwell. The 2-point conversion reduced Philadelphia’s deficit to 16, with 4:45 left, but it was as close as possible.
Jovani Bernard scored in the 2-meter dash and second-year specialist KeShaun Vaughn, who is replacing injured Leonard Furnett and Ronald Jones, went 70 yards and put the Bucs ahead 14-0. .
Brady has led the NFL this season in passing, touching, trying and finishing, but Tampa Bay has had the upper hand in this regard by running the ball and keeping it away from Hurts and the league’s leading hurried attack.
The Bucs played 25 games for Philadelphia in the first quarter, trailing the Eagles by 137 yards to 17 yards and scoring 11-1 in the first set.
The situation didn’t improve much after that, with the return of injured defenders Lavonte David, Shaquille Barrett and Jason Per-Paul, the Tampa Bay defense returning Hurts ’most promising driver in the first half, with Mike Edwards stopping the last zone. .
The Eagles have won four of their last five games to finish 7th in the NFC, but the turning point of their season came when running the ball in the second half of the 28-22 home became the main point of the offense. Defeat to Bucs.
The Eagles have run at least 130 yards in their next nine games, including more than 175 in seven in a row. Hurt led the team with 784 yards and 10 yards to become the eighth quarterback in NFL history to shoot more than 3,000 yards. and runs more than 750.
Hurts finished his playoff debut in 23 of 43 of 258 yards. He ran a team height of 39 yards in eight attempts, with the Eagles finishing with a 95-yard run – well below the season average of 159.7 per game.