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Jordan Whitehead shines as Bucs beat Eagles in playoffs

The Pitt alum helped set the tone for the Bucs in their dominant win over the Eagles with two early splash plays

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Pitt alum and Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Jordan Whitehead played in the fifth playoff game of his NFL career on Sunday, and his performance was impactful, as he came up with two splash plays early in the game and ranked among the Buccaneers’ leaders in tackles for losses and tackles in their 31-15 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Whitehead’s first big play of the game came with about eight and a half minutes left in the first quarter, when he paired up with Devin White to snuff out a run by Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. Whitehead was not fooled by a fake handoff to Eagles running back Miles Sanders, and he took down Hurts for a loss of three. He also forced a three and out.

Two and a half minutes later, Whitehead found his way into the Eagles’ backfield once again. This time, he took down Sanders as he tried and failed to turn the corner and take a handoff upfield. The outcome was a five-yard loss, and while the play did not end the Eagles’ drive, it set them up for failure. And as a result, they were forced to punt three plays later.

Whitehead’s two tackles for losses led the team on Sunday, and his six total tackles ranked third, with only Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards accruing more. The two tackles for losses were also Whitehead’s first in the playoffs. But they were not his only postseason splash plays, as he forced two fumbles in his team’s 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in 2021.

With the Buccaneers’ win over the Eagles in the wild-card round, they will advance to the divisional round, where they will play the Dallas Cowboys, the Arizona Cardinals or the Los Angeles Rams. That divisional-round game is set to be played next weekend.