PHILADELPHIA -- With a ravaged defensive already down four starters, cornerback Richard Sherman having to leave the game in the first half, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady teamed up with running back Leonard Fournette on Thursday to take the burden off the Philadelphia Eagles. The 28-22 victory at Lincoln Financial Field was a triumph for the Buccaneers.
Brady, who was dealing with a thumb injury that restricted him to light throwing during walk-throughs, went 34 for 42 for 297 yard, two touchdowns, and one interception. Anthony Harris was the only pick. It was a deep pass of 30-yards intended for Antonio Brown on third-and-15. Marcus Epps, safety, attempted another interception but was ruled out.
Fournette ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He also added 46 yards from six catches.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
Troubling trend: The Bucs' cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross, and Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator, may be forced to play this season (5-1). Prior to tonight's game, the secondary starters had made a total of 11 starts. Sherman's injury was the latest blow. Dee Delaney replaced him.
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The group managed to surrender only 115 yards passing, with Jamel Dean recording an interception for the second consecutive week on a pass meant for Quez Watkins.
Dean, the only healthy starting cornerback, continues to be a player of distinction. Zach Ertz, tight end, received a 5-yard touchdown reception from Dean for his 45-yard defensive pass interference offense on the first drive. Jalen Hurts scored a 6-yard touchdown run after Mike Edwards, backup safety, committed a 50-yard defensive pass interference violation in the third quarter.
Trend: Thursday night was a promising one. Howard, who is still recovering from a ruptured Achilles, only had six targets for this season. Gronkowski was out for the past two weeks so he only had two catches. Howard, however, had six catches against the Eagles (2-4) for 46 yards and one touchdown. Brady and he finally looked in-sync.
Questionable call: The Bucs attempted to go for it on fourth and 3, from the Eagles' 46 yard line. However, the Eagles turned the ball over on downs when Brady threw Howard. With 5:56 left, Hurts ran for a 2-yard touchdown and converted a Watkins two-point conversion. After a taunting penalty on Genard Avery, defensive end, the Bucs were able to gain 15 yards and allow them to run out the clock.