The Eagles headed into week three 0-2. Their Quarterback had thrown two touchdowns and four interceptions in the opening two games and desperately needed his first win as an Eagle. Bradford got the win a very hot/cold game but with people criticising him from just about every angle..we’re here once again to change your perception.
Bradford finished the game 14/28, for 118 yards, and a single 1 touchdown. The stats don’t seem terrible and that’s because they’re not. But the Eagles Quarterback suffered a lot of inaccurate passes against the Jets and there were times where a player was wide open on the other side of the field, but instead he insisted on drilling a pass to a receiver in coverage or turning right instantly to find a receiver for minimal yards.
But, just like in the two games before this one..he wasn’t exactly receiving a lot of help. Darren Sproles dropped a certain touchdown pass late on after Ryan Mathews did the same earlier on. Nelson Agholor missed a couple of catches by inches, with one being a tad overthrown whilst the other just a little too low. But now we hit our first positive.
The majority of criticism being thrown Bradford’s way after the Dallas loss was that he looked scared. That he wasn’t ever going to throw a deep pass and his arm wasn’t accurate or consistent enough to air out 20-30 yard passes. Well, today he tried it. The finest being a 23 yard pass to Ryan Mathews for a touchdown on a wheel play. It was arguably the nicest Bradford pass this season. Perfectly placed, perfectly thrown, perfect result.
He then hit Jordan Matthews for a 17 yard completion but overthrew both Miles Austin and Nelson Agholor. Why is this a positive? It’s the first time the guy has thrown a football that deep for close to two years in a competitive environment, there’s going to be some tweaking needed.
This Offense isn’t really primed to run for deep passes. It’s short passes, screen passes, slants, bubbles and run plays that get the big yards. With the deep passes being used when the Defense are in a rhythm of expecting a short play. If Bradford hasn’t been practicing deep balls then you can’t expect miracles straight away. The good news is that everyone was throwing shade at the Quarterback for not challenging balls down the field…today he did that with varying success. It’s a small step, but a step in the right direction.
However, that isn’t the silver lining we’re talking about. The New York Jets Defense has built up quite the reputation recently of being one of the most intimidating in the NFL. The team had racked up ten turnovers in just two games. One interception came against Manziel with a further four turnovers against the Browns in week one whilst they forced Andrew Luck to turn the ball over five times. So if they can force a three time pro bowler to turn the ball over five times and hold a Superbowl contender to just seven points, what were they going to do against an Eagles Offense who went scoreless for five of their opening eight quarters?!
The answer? Sam Bradford turned the ball over a whopping…zero times. None. Null. Sam Bradford had no interceptions and no fumbles. In contrast, this happened today.
So, to everybody who is currently calling out Sam Bradford for not being good enough or not suiting this Offense..look around the league. Yes, he’s taken a while to get warmed up. But last week Bradford made two interceptions against the Cowboys. One was through no fault of his own whilst the other was a poor read. So what does he do? Works on his decision making. He held onto the ball much longer in todays game and also ran the playclock down to its bare bones countless times..it’s obvious he’s being a lot more cautious with his throws. The result? Leaving the MetLife, home of a Defense who ripped Andrew Luck apart, with a win and no turnovers.
Nick Foles isn’t doing much better in St. Louis to end that argument, and there are Quarterbacks putting up numbers far more worrying.
So yes. Sam Bradford had a very hot and cold game. The team went scoreless in the second half, but I would much rather have a conservative Quarterback than a reckless one who airs it out time after time causing game changing interceptions…wouldn’t you?