The Eagles had gone eight games without winning entering Sunday’s date with the Buccaneers and they waited until just about all 60 minutes of game number nine had gone by before snapping that lengthy losing streak.
Nick Foles hit Jason Avant for 22 yards to the one-yard line on fourth down with 16 seconds to play and then spiked the ball with two seconds left to play. Foles then hit a sliding Jeremy Maclin on the final play of the game, it stood up on review and the required but meaningless extra point made it a 23-21 Eagles win. There were a lot of happy faces on the Eagles sideline when Maclin caught that pass, something that looked odd after seeing all the downcast faces for the last two months.
Foles was the biggest reason for their happiness. He completed 11 passes over the team’s two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, halting a Buccaneers offensive turnaround that resulted in 21 points after being held without a score in the first half. Foles converted a pair of fourth downs and a pair of third downs on the way to those final 13 points and wound up 32-of-51 for 381 yards and two touchdowns to go with the rushing score he had in the first half.
It was an excellent performance across the board for Foles. The same can’t be said of Josh Freeman. He was terrible in the first half and the failure to get on the board there loomed large in the final quarter as the Eagles went on long drives that wound up with touchdowns. The Buccaneers elected to run Doug Martin on third down and punt the ball back to the Eagles with just under three minutes to play and a defense that just got run over by Foles, a decision that didn’t cost them the game but certainly didn’t help them win it.
The loss is a tough one for the Buccaneers’ playoff chances. We’ll see how things shake out over the rest of the day, but blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead to a team on an eight-game losing streak tends to be the sort of thing that means no trip to the postseason.