PHILADELPHIA — For weeks, they'd been quiet by their high standards, with DT Gerald McCoy getting no sacks in the past four games and LB Lavonte David missing the splash plays he had hoped for this season.
That changed Sunday. David got two interceptions — returning one for his first NFL touchdown to punctuate a 45-17 win over the Eagles — and McCoy had 1 1/2 sacks, sparking a defense that held the Eagles to three points in the second half.
"More importantly, just leading our side of the ball. It's what we're supposed to do," McCoy said. "If we're going to get on a run, me and (No.) 54 definitely have to step it up."
David's first interception came as the Eagles were threatening to cut into a 28-14 Bucs lead just before halftime. He intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass at the Bucs' 30-yard line with 16 seconds left. The second interception came with less than five minutes left in the game, and his 20-yard score was the Bucs' last.
David credited his play to a more relaxed approach: "Just letting the game come to me. Being patient, staying within the scheme. As I studied myself, I was trying to do a little too much (more) than I usually do. I have to trust in all my teammates."
CLUTCH TIME: The Bucs' offense excelled in two areas that had been problematic this season: the red zone and on third down. The Bucs scored touchdowns on their first five trips inside the Eagles' 20 — all on Jameis Winston scoring passes — and converted 10 of 16 third downs, their second-highest total in any game in the past 15 years.
SPREAD IT AROUND: Winston's five touchdown passes went to five players — WRs Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Russell Shepard, RB Charles Sims and TE Cameron Brate — a first in Bucs history. The three other times Bucs quarterbacks have thrown five touchdown passes — by Steve DeBerg, Brad Johnson and Josh Freeman — one receiver caught two of the five.
HARVARD MAN: Brate has stepped up well during Austin Seferian-Jenkins' absence with a shoulder injury. He had three catches for 47 yards and his second NFL touchdown. Over the last five games, he's third on the team in receiving yards, trailing Evans and rookie Adam Humphries.
THIS AND THAT: Rookie LB Josh Keyes, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, made his NFL debut on the opening kickoff. … For all the talk about the Eagles' uptempo offense, the Bucs ran as many offensive plays as Philadelphia did, 72. The Bucs dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for 35 minutes, 51 seconds, the most in 26 games under Lovie Smith by a full minute. The Bucs had a 2-to-1 advantage entering the fourth quarter. … Clearwater High alum Jeremiah George had a strong tackle on special teams for the Bucs, bringing down an Eagles returner at the 8.