By Sam Joseph, CNN
In a battle between two previously undefeated teams, Philadelphia improved to 3-0 for the second consecutive season while Tampa Bay was handed its first loss of the Baker Mayfield era.
The Eagles defense again proved to be sturdy, holding the Buccaneers to two scoreless quarters in the first and third, while the run game shone on a night where star quarterback Jalen Hurts was not feeling 100%.
Hurts confirmed after the game that he was suffering from “flu-like symptoms” before Monday’s matchup, but decided to play through it. He was 23-37 on passes for 277 yards, to go along with a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and two interceptions.
Birds on the ground
Tampa Bay’s usually reliable defense was unable to cope with the Eagles’ ground game. Philadelphia came into the game as the second-best rushing offense in the league and showed no signs of letting up, going for 201 rushing yards against the Buccaneers’ 41.
D’Andre Swift quite literally ran the show, following up his career-high 175 rush yards against the Vikings in Week 2 with 130 yards on 16 carries.
Despite his illness and the interceptions, Hurts still contributed. The 25-year-old quarterback dropped an exquisite 34-yard pass right into the hands of Olamide Zaccheaus late in the second quarter for a touchdown, putting the Eagles up 10-3 when the extra point was converted. He also connected with AJ Brown on nine occasions, with the wide receiver racking up 131 yards.
Hurts was also able to get into the end zone himself after Philadelphia executed their trademark quarterback sneak in the third quarter.
Kicker Jake Elliott chipped in with three field goals on an enjoyable night for Philly fans which also saw the 1078th unique final scoreline in NFL history – AKA ‘Scorigami’.
Tampa Bay struggles on offense
After such a promising start to the season, it was a night to forget for Mayfield and the Bucs as things failed to click offensively.
Mayfield threw his first interception as a Buccaneer as he was picked off by Reed Blankenship in the second quarter after the entire offense had got through the opening two games of the year without turning the ball over.
The Bucs’ defense looked as though they might help to salvage something from the game, but even when things went right, they then immediately went wrong.
Devin White intercepted a pass by Hurts in the final minute of the second quarter but Mayfield was sacked before Rachaad White gave the ball away on a fumble on the next two plays.
Another interception, this time by Dee Delaney, in the third quarter resulted in White being stopped in his own end zone for a safety on the next play, giving two more points to Philly.
By the time that Mayfield eventually found Mike Evans for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the score had already been stretched to 25-3.
Cincinnati Bengals on the board with 19-16 win
In Monday night’s other matchup, the Cincinnati Bengals grabbed their first win of the season in a Super Bowl LVI rematch against the Los Angeles Rams.
Despite rumors that he would miss the action, superstar quarterback Joe Burrow suited up at Paycor Stadium, playing through a lingering calf injury that he sustained during training camp. He went 26-49 for 259 yards, throwing an interception along the way. He found wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase 12 times, with Chase posting 141 total yards.
It was nightmare game for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was picked off twice and sacked six times. LA went 1-11 on third downs and were generally frustrated by the Bengals defense.
“The situation on-ball that we’ve been pretty good in offensively was not good at all tonight,” Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters. “That ended up really hurting us.”
Both the Bengals and the Rams now sit at 1-2 for the season and are looking to get back to .500 on Sunday when they take on the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts respectively.
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