The Philadelphia Eagles collapsed to end their 2023 season, losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night for an early exit from the NFL playoffs.
The loss was the sixth in Philadelphia’s last seven games after starting the year 10-1, and just one season removed from nearly defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII.
Philadelphia gave an uninspiring effort against Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers, particularly on the defensive side of the football where missed tackles were the theme of the night.
Late in the third quarter, with Philadelphia down 18-9, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Trey Palmer essentially put the game on ice with a 56-yard score, most of which came after the catch.
ESPN analyst Troy Aikman, who was critical of Philadelphia’s tackling throughout the game, did not hold back as he watched the replay of Palmer breaking and avoiding tackles for the score.
“Should have been a six-yard completion,” Aikman said. “James Bradberry on the outside at corner. Just unable to make a tackle. But even the backend. Kevin Byard [Eagles safety]. I don’t know what that is, but we’ve seen enough of it all year long.”
“Amazing job [by Palmer], but it just continues throughout this ballgame on both sides of the ball to just show the problems that Philadelphia has had and why they’ve had the collapse they’ve had to end this season,” Aikman added.
There has been speculation that Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni could be on the hot seat following the late-season collapse, a subject Aikman broached after the loss while speaking with Scott Van Pelt.
“Every time it looked like they were getting ready to play an opponent or in a position to turn their season back around, they end up losing the No. 2 seed. And then they lose another game. And then they came into this one saying, ‘Hey, everything is still out in front of us.’ I know there is a difference between what players and coaches say and what they feel,” Aikman said when asked how he makes sense of Philadelphia’s performance in the Wild Card matchup.
“And they said all the right things, but you could tell they weren’t feeling it. And it was obvious when they came out here and took the field. What happens then is you’ve got to reenergize a fanbase, and to do that, typically there’s got to be changes. What changes will that be? I don’t know. Will it be Nick Sirianni? I’m not sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is knowing Jeffrey Lurie [Eagles owner] and his background and what he’s done in the past.
“But you cannot go into next season status quo. There’s gonna have to be some changes, and I’m as interested as anyone to see what those are.”
While Philadelphia heads into an offseason of great uncertainty, Tampa Bay heads to Detroit for a matchup with the Lions on Sunday.
Detroit is coming off its first playoff victory since 1992 with a 24-23 win over the Los Angeles Rams.