All Baker Mayfield and the resurgent Tampa Bay Buccaneers wanted was an opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs.
A strong finish to the regular season provided one. Their 32-9 wild-card playoff victory over Jalen Hurts and the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night guaranteed they’ll have another.
Mayfield threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns, and Tampa Bay’s defense never allowed Hurts and Philadelphia’s sputtering offense to get into a rhythm before a crowd of 63,397 at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs (10-8) won for the sixth time in seven games to advance to a NFC divisional round matchup on the road next Sunday against the Detroit Lions (13-5), another team — like the Eagles — that stymied Mayfield during the regular season.
“We worked extremely hard to get a chance to be in the playoffs and we just wanted an opportunity. Our guys came out and played really really well. … Once again, the defense played lights out. We’re happy, but we’ve still got more to go,” Mayfield said.
“We were underdogs, we’re going to be underdogs next week, too,” coach Todd Bowles added. “We understand that. We embrace it. We like it.”
David Moore scored on a 44-yard reception in the first quarter. Rookie Trey Palmer broke the game open with a 56-yard catch-and-run for a TD that put the Bucs up 25-9 late in the third quarter. Both receivers took advantage of a porous, poor-tackling Eagles secondary to make their way to the end zone.
Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick who’s playing with his fourth team in less than two years, completed 22 of 36 passes without an interception. He capped his first playoff appearance since the 2020 season with a 23-yard TD pass to Chris Godwin.
“We were a little out of sync. That starts with me,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t put them in good enough positions.”