The Tampa Bay Buccaneers absolutely dominated the Philadelphia Eagles in their own stadium today, walking out with a 45-17 win after leading 28-14 at the half. Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns to five different receivers, while Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards in their most dominant win in years.
The Bucs set franchise records with 283 rushing yards and their 521 yards of total offense were second in franchise history. Winston tied both a rookie and franchise record with five passing touchdowns, while Doug Martin's 235 rushing yards were second only to his own 250 rushing yards against the Raiders and he's now one of three backs ever to have two 235+-yard games, the others being O.J. Simpson and Corey Dillon.
Jameis Winston and Doug Martin dominated the Eagles in the first half, with Martin putting up 177 yards on just 12 carries and Winston completing 13 of 18 passes for a whopping four touchdowns, with no turnovers and just one sack -- though he did fumble on the sack. The Bucs offense looked downright unstoppable in the first half, though the defense struggled a little more. Still, one of the two touchdowns the Bucs gave up in the first half should have been called back for one of the more blatant holds I've ever seen, and the Bucs still led 28-14 when they headed into the half.
The second half was mostly consolidation for the Bucs, who produced a 15-play, 80-yard, 10-minute drive to start the first half and effectively put the game out of reach. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way, with a Lavonte David pick-six as the cherry on top of the pie at the end of the game.
This was a complete game by the Buccaneers. Jameis Winston was near-perfect, the offense was dominant and held onto the ball, the defense was stout and produced three takeaways (four if you count the fumble they fumbled back to the Eagles) and they didn't self-destruct at any point. This is the kind of game that gives fans hope for the future.
First quarter notes
The Bucs seemed to get off to a great start, with William Gholston ripping the ball out of DeMarco Murray's hands and Jacquies Smith recovering -- but a horrible call by the refs and the inexplicable decision not to reverse it on review saw the Eagles end up with the ball after they ruled Smith fumbled it back to the Eagles. A few plays later the Eagles were in the endzone when the Bucs defense collectively forgot how to tackle and what proper angles were, letting Josh Huff turn a short catch into a 39-yard touchdown.
The Bucs offense looked pretty decent, but a miscommunication between Jameis Winston and Mike Evans and a subsequent underthrow for the same combination ended that drive at the Eagles' 36. Instead of going for it or trying a field goal, Lovie Smith punted for a net of 16 yards of field position.
This is how bad the decision to punt was pic.twitter.com/gN48ycW31Q— Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) November 22, 2015
A Gerald McCoy sack gave the Bucs the ball back, though and after Doug Martin broke a 58-yard run Jameis Winston found Mike Evans in the endzone on an elusive fade.
The Bucs defense then forced a punt, mostly because Mark Sanchez is a bad quarterback, giving the Bucs another chance to get in scoring position. Jameis Winston did exactly that, with a beautifully designed swing pass to Charles Sims and a terrific third-down throw to Mike Evans in between four defenders providing the highlight of that drive.
Second quarter notes
Touchdown to Vincent Jackson! That's how the Bucs opened the second quarter, after the drive to end the first quarter. A quick slant, and the Bucs seemed to have cured their red zone problems despite facing one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. That's pretty impressive.
The Bucs defense went back to forcing punts as Mark Sanchez continued to be scattershot, and Doug Martin set up the Bucs' third touchdown with a massive 84-yard run to the one-yard line. Jameis Winston then found Russell Shepard in the endzone for his third touchdown of the day.
Unfortunately, the Bucs defense couldn't stop Darren Sproles from walking into the endzone on a screen on what looked like a massive scheme breakdown, as no one was even close to touching Sproles. At the same time, those Eagles held the tar out of Kwon Alexander and the play should rightly have been called back.
It didn't matter, though. The Bucs went right down the field, correctly going for it on fourth down in Eagles territory, with Jameis Winston finding Adam Humphries for a 25-yarder and then Charles Sims on a terribly ill-advised pass for a touchdown. Sims made the magic happen there. Lavonte David then closed at a pretty dominant first half with an interception, and the Bucs headed to the locker room with a 28-14 lead.
Third quarter notes
The Bucs got the ball to start the third quarter and despite a total of eight flags on both sides of the ball, they marched down the field slowly but steadily, taking a whopping ten minutes off the clock and finishing it off with a touchdown to Cameron Brate -- Jameis Winston's fifth to his fifth different receiver today. Winston made a number of ridiculous throws during that drive, including a beautiful 24-yard third-and-16 conversion to Vincent Jackson, and a 23-yarder to Cameron Brate.
A quick defensive stop got the Bucs the ball back again, and Winston drove the team down into field goal range before the fourth quarter.
Fourth quarter notes
For the first time this game, Jameis Winston couldn't convert a red zone trip into a touchdown, with a Gosder Cherilus hold and Adam Humphries drop (on the same play) preventing his sixth and would-be record-setting touchdown of the day. The Bucs still took a 38-14 lead.
The Eagles tried to do something to make the loss less embarrassing, but a poor Mark Sanchez interception under pressure stopped that effort. The Eagles then actually managed to force a punt for only the third time in the game, and then got a field goal with 5:14 left. The Bucs grabbed the ensuing onside kick to definitively put the game out of reach.
To put the icing on the cake, Lavonte David added a garbage time pick-six to embarrass the Eagles a little further.
Nothing of note for the Bucs. Zach Ertz left the game with a concussion for the Eagles.
The Bucs head to Indianapolis to take on the Colts, hoping to get above .500 for the first time since 2012 to stay in the Wild Card playoff race.