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Buccaneers RB Rachaad White on rematch with Eagles: 'We're a different team than we were then'

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got thumped by the Philadelphia Eagles 25-11 in Week 3, a game that didn't feel even as close as the double-digit loss indicated.

The Eagles rolled up 472 yards of offense and 27 first downs while the defense held Baker Mayfield and the Bucs to a season-low 174 yards and 12 first downs. The Bucs' offense turned the ball over twice, including a fumble by running back Rachaad White, who was also stuffed for a safety. Tampa didn't punch it into the end zone until well into the fourth quarter. Philly's offense responded to that score by grinding the Bucs defense to a pulp with a 15-play, 9:22-long possession that ended the contest.

Joining NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Friday, White said the Bucs found themselves in the weeks after that Philly loss.

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"Of course, you go back and watch again," he said. "You see if there are things you want to do this go around and things like that. I just feel like -- the biggest thing is we're a different team than we were then. We've been kind of hitting our peak and on a good run winning the last five out of six games. We kind of know who we are now. When we go back and watch that, we feel like we left some plays out there -- all of us feel like that about ourselves. We just (got to) come out there this time with swag, confidence. Like I said, we just come out there with juice and energy and play hard for sure."

White is a prime example of how the Bucs have progressed since that early-season toe stub. Early in the season, Mayfield even admitted the Bucs weren't a "run-first team." But White's play surged down the stretch, giving Tampa a complementary ground game. From Weeks 9-18, White generated eight scrimmage touchdowns (one TD from Weeks 1-8) while earning 685 rushing yards and 316 receiving yards.

Winning five of their final six games, the Bucs took the NFC South at 9-8, despite a losing skid in the middle of the campaign (seven losses in nine games at one point). Todd Bowles' club didn't play its best in the final two weeks (a blowout loss to New Orleans and squeaking by Carolina), but it found ways to win in December.

Star wideout Chris Godwin echoed White's sentiments that it's a completely different crew than the one that faced the Eagles in September.

"We've evolved so much," Godwin said Thursday, via the team's official transcript. "Just going through an entire season, figuring out who you are, going through the ups and downs of a season, you know, things have changed in a lot of ways. So, I'm excited about the opportunity, but at the same time, they've changed as well. Surely, they're going to come into the game with a different game plan and plan to attack us in a different way. Obviously, we have already played this year, but things will be different this week."

Not only have the Bucs evolved, but the Eagles have devolved as the season went on. Philadelphia lost five of its final six games to close the season with the No. 5 seed in the NFC.

The Eagles' defense has struggled mightily, dealt with injuries and turned to Matt Patricia as defensive play-caller, which has done nothing to stop the leaking.

"Obviously, they are some different guys out there," Godwin said of watching the Eagles D. "They've been banged up a little bit, so that makes it a little bit challenging whenever you're watching film just trying to anticipate who you're going against. [They] changed their coordinator, so schematically they changed a little bit, but they still have ballers on the other side, right? They still have the playmakers there that they've been counting on over the last couple of years and it will be a good challenge for us."

Monday night is a showdown of two ships that ended the season traveling in opposite directions. The Buccaneers will try to use their late-season evolution to push their way into the Divisional Round.

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