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NFL playoffs: What We Learned from Buccaneers' win over Eagles on Super Wild Card Weekend

1) Buccaneers cruise by sticking to identity. Let's be honest, Tampa Bay didn't look great entering Super Wild Card Weekend. The Buccaneers delivered a clunker with a chance to lock up the NFC South in Week 17, and secured it only after outlasting the downtrodden Panthers in an ugly 9-0 win to close the regular season. Their performance on Monday night, however, was the exact opposite, and it came in a familiar and comforting fashion. Baker Mayfield let it rip all over the field all night, racking up 337 yards and three touchdowns, Rachaad White ran hard, and Todd Bowles' defense was remarkably relentless, blitzing Jalen Hurts and the Eagles at a rate of 53.8%. They won with aggression and toughness on both sides of the ball, dominating the game by going out and taking it from the reeling defending NFC champs.

2) Eagles need to retake Tackling 101. Philadelphia tackled at a Pop Warner level on Monday night. Its fundamentals were absolutely horrible when it came to approaching a ball carrier. Tampa Bay finished with 219 yards after the catch, with 79 of them coming over expected. Trey Palmer's 56-yard touchdown reception should have been a 6-yard gain. Instead, it became an almost laughable talking point for the broadcast solely because it was embarrassingly bad. The Eagles will have a different defensive coordinator next season, and atop his checklist needs to be a greater focus on the basics. There's no excuse for how poorly this unit played down the stretch -- Arizona's swift march down the field to beat the Eagles in Week 17 comes to mind -- especially in a playoff game.

3) Change ahead in Philadelphia? Troy Aikman said what we all were thinking Monday night: The Eagles played like a defeated team. They've looked nothing like the squad that won the NFC a year ago, or the one that started this season 10-1, instead devolving into a dysfunctional mess that made offense look like a chore and became a sieve defensively. The Eagles made the most basic requirements of professional football -- blocking, catching, tackling -- look difficult, failed to execute in almost every key situation, finished 0 for 9 on third down and made zero adjustments when facing Tampa Bay's highly predictable blitzes. It's stunning to consider this team was 10-1, because it's looked like a bottom feeder for the last seven weeks. Perhaps mercifully, the Eagles are now headed into an offseason that should definitely include changes at defensive coordinator, and could stretch beyond that position. Nothing feels certain, and if this is how veterans like Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham go out, it's truly a shame.

4) Bucs need to get their hands right. With a 16-9 lead in the second quarter, I took a moment to consider what had transpired to that point for the Buccaneers. Mayfield missed Mike Evans on a potential touchdown and another long pass down the sideline, but what stood out more than anything was Tampa Bay's inconsistency with catching on-target passes. Bucs receivers dropped nearly a half-dozen such throws in the first half alone, and had they caught just a few of those, they might have owned a lead as large as 24-3 at that point. It didn't end up mattering, but it will in a closer game against a better opponent, and for as well as Mayfield has been playing this season, he deserves more consistent production on the other end of his throws.

5) Baker Mayfield adds playoff win to excellent season. Mayfield played the best football of his career during the 2023 regular season, so it was only right he posted an excellent stat line in a prime-time playoff game. Mayfield's night certainly wasn't easy, due in part to the aforementioned drops, but he stayed true to his greatest strengths, and when he tossed a desperate, lofting pass toward Chris Godwin late in the fourth quarter, naturally, Godwin came down with the ball for a perfect capper to a great night for the former No. 1 overall pick. Mayfield has found a perfect partner in Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers have him to thank for their advancement to the Divisional Round. He's the unquestioned leader of a team that no one expected to be here, and earned the right to play another January game with even more importance.

Next Gen stat of the game: Jalen Hurts faced 13 quick pressures in Monday night's loss, tying for the most quick pressures faced in a game in Hurts' career, including playoffs.

NFL Research: Baker Mayfield is the first Buccaneers quarterback to have 300-plus passing yards and three-plus passing touchdowns in a playoff game.

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