After winning Thursday night to start their season, the Eagles were freed up Sunday and a lot of players got a chance to watch some other NFL teams play.
Malcolm Jenkins watched some football. But he didn’t catch the Eagles’ Week 2 opponent, the Bucs, win in a shootout with their backup quarterback against future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans.
He did see the final score though.
“Yeah, I saw the score,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “The score definitely stood out. Obviously, they’re putting up points. Saw a little bit of the clips today.”
The Bucs took down the Saints, 48-40, at the Superdome. Yeah, you read that right.
That Week 2 matchup in Tampa this coming Sunday looks a little tougher than it once did.
With Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games of the season, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick started in New Orleans and put together an all-time great performance.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for over 400 yards, completed 75% of his passes, with 4 TDs and 0 INTs.— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) September 9, 2018
Just the 10th time in NFL history someone has done that.
“Veteran guy, [Fitzpatrick has] been doing it for a long time,” cornerback Jalen Mills said. “I can’t say nothing else about it. Backup quarterback. I mean, you saw what we did last year with our backup quarterback. He’s stepping up in his role.”
Sure, the Eagles have a better defense than the Saints. No one would argue differently. But the Eagles’ defense better be able to shut down the Bucs, because the Nick Foles that showed up in Week 1 won’t be able to win a shootout. If the Super Bowl Foles shows up, they’re fine. But no one knows what to expect from him.
And I’m not saying the Eagles are going to lose this game; I’m just saying it’s a little tougher of a game than we probably thought it was a week ago.
The Eagles might catch a little bit of a break this week because DeSean Jackson, who had a monster game in Week 1, suffered a concussion and might not be ready for Sunday’s game.
But even without Jackson, the Bucs still have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at receiver. All three guys found the end zone Sunday.
“They have really three receivers that can make a ton of plays down the field,” Jenkins said. “We know from playing them a couple years ago that the shots down the field is what they like to do. Max up so they give the quarterback time to stretch the field. We’ll have a unique challenge on our hands.”
Jenkins was talking about the 2015 matchup against the Bucs, when the Eagles lost, 45-17, at the Linc. That was the last time the Bucs put up 40 points until this past weekend.
In that game, Winston, in his rookie season, threw five touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer rating of 131.6 in that game is still a career high. (For what it’s worth, Fitzpatrick’s passer rating Sunday was 156.2.)
A lot has changed about both teams since that matchup in 2015 and Winston obviously won’t play Sunday. But the Bucs’ offense is still similar with Dirk Koetter in charge, now as head coach instead of OC.
While Jenkins hadn’t watched film as of Monday afternoon, Mills had. He was impressed but doesn’t seem too worried about what happened in Week 1.
“At the end of the day, it’s not Tampa vs. the Saints,” Mills said. “It’s Tampa vs. the Eagles. We’re going to go out there and play defense and they have to go out there and play offense.”
The Eagles should still be able to pull out a win in Tampa to move to 2-0, but they definitely can’t afford to take the Bucs lightly. Not after seeing what they did Sunday.