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November 22, 2015

Halftime observations: Bucs 28, Eagles 14

Needing a win in the worst way, the 4-5 Philadelphia Eagles are getting a crack at Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Before the season, most of us looked at this game as easy victory. Oops! Here’s what I saw in the first half:

The good

•    After some serious fumble luck (see below) on the opening drive, Mark Sanchez drove the Eagles 86 yards on seven plays. Great run after the catch by Josh Huff to take this in from 39 yards out:

•    Sanchez and the Eagles went quiet for a while, but they finally hit on the screen play to Darren Sproles down 21-7. Once Sproles caught the ball with that much space, you knew he was gone.

The bad

•    Our second double fumble in as many weeks! After the Eagles picked up a first down through the air to begin the game, DeMarco Murray took an innocuous carry and put the ball on the turf. Luckily for him, Zach Ertz stripped the ball from a Tampa defender later on the play and the Birds recovered.

•    Penalties hurt. Brandon Graham’s encroachment penalty kept a Bucs drive alive on 3rd and 6, and Doug Martin’s 58-yard run on 3rd and 1 set up a Bucs touchdown.

•    The Bucs went 6-9 (nice) on 3rd down, which continues to be a problem for the Eagles defense. For a unit that has played very well for the balance of this season, this performance has truly been a stinker.

•    Connor Barwin and Malcolm Jenkins dropped red zone interceptions. Both might have honestly gone for pick sixes, too. Instead, Jameis Winston threw touchdown passes on the ensuing plays.

•    Kiko Alonso just seems a step slow on most running plays.

•    Sanchez missed Sproles on a screen before the end of the half, and then he threw a typical awful Sanchez interception right to Lavonte David.

The ugly

•    356 yards of total offense and 28 points given up to the Tampa Bucs in one half? That’s pathetic. We are officially back in 2012, folks.

•    DeMeco Ryans on the first long run by the Muscle Hamster?

•    Can FOX stop talking about Jameis Winston being an Eagles fan as a kid because of Randall Cunningham? Pretty sure that was before his time.

•    Speaking of FOX messing up (which could really be its own section), I enjoyed Dick Stockton calling the Eagles quarterback “Mark San-CHEZ” multiple times during the game.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann