MIAMI: The Philadelphia Eagles maintained their unbeaten start to the NFL season with a comprehensive 25-11 victory on the road over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for one touchdown and threw for another as last season’s Super Bowl runners-up improved to 3-0 –- the franchise’s best start to a season since the 1992-1993 campaign. Hurts finished with 277 passing yards from 23-of-37 attempts while rushing 28 yards from 10 carries, including one of the Eagles’ trademark “tush-push” close-range touchdowns.
Philadelphia running back D’Andre Swift had 130 yards from 16 carries while wide receiver A.J. Brown caught the eye with 131 yards from nine receptions. The Eagles are now only one of three teams in the league with a 3-0 record, joining the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins. Hurts warned after the game that the Eagles still had plenty of room for improvement as they target a swift return to the Super Bowl this season. “We found a way to win, and we found a way to execute,” Hurts said. “I think we’re a work in progress.
We’re playing really good team football, and we’re still growing. That’s the beautiful thing about it.” A cagey opening period saw defenses on top, with the Eagles having to settle for a 36-yard Jake Elliott field goal for their only scoring drive of the first quarter. Tampa Bay, who were also unbeaten before Monday, squared the game at 3-3 after a Chase McLaughlin field goal in the second quarter before the Eagles took over. Hurts threaded a superb 34-yard pass to Olamide Zaccheaus for the game’s opening touchdown before Elliott booted another field goal to put Philadelphia 13-3 up at half-time.
The Eagles turned the screw with the opening drive of the third quarter, Hurts marching his team 75 yards up field with a 13-play masterpiece that culminated with the quarterback being shoved over from one yard out to make it 20-3. Tampa Bay were given a glimmer of hope soon afterwards when Dee Delaney produced a stunning interception to deny Philadelphia another touchdown.
But the Eagles hit back as Tampa Bay tried to rush out of the end zone, with Rachaad White stopped in his tracks to concede a safety that put Philadelphia 22-3 ahead. Elliott added another field goal to stretch the Eagles lead to 25-3. The Bucs did finally breach the Eagles defense on their next possession, with quarterback Baker Mayfield finding Mike Evans for a close-range score and then making the two-point conversion.
But it was too little too late as Philadelphia ran down the clock in the fourth quarter to close out victory. In Monday’s other game, a ferocious defensive display set up the Cincinnati Bengals’ first win of the season with a 19-16 defeat of the Los Angeles Rams. A rampant Bengals defense sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford six times while restricting the visitors to 292 offensive yards. – AFP