Bradford goes to the showers to fire up the team
PHILADELPHIA (AP) A pep talk in the shower kickstarted the Eagles’ lackluster offense.
Before leading Philadelphia to a 39-17 win over New Orleans on Sunday, Sam Bradford gathered players near the showers and fired them up with a speech.
”Sam told us to play like the way he knows we can play because he has confidence in us,” wide receiver Josh Huff said.
Wideout Riley Cooper praised Bradford for his leadership, saying ”the whole thing was awesome.”
It took a little while for Bradford’s inspirational words to sink in. He threw a pair of red-zone interceptions in the first half, but finally got the offense going late in the second quarter.
The Eagles racked up 519 yards and held the ball for 34:02, a rare edge in time of possession for Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.
”Obviously, it’s not going to be like this every week,” Bradford said. ”But to know that when we’re clicking and we’re rolling that we can go out and do that, it’s just going to give us confidence now to go out there and do it more often.”
The key to Philadelphia’s success was improved blocking by an offensive line that struggled mightily in the first four games. A banged-up unit pushed around the Saints and dominated the line of scrimmage, paving the way for DeMarco Murray’s best day since joining the Eagles.
Murray had 83 yards rushing and one touchdown on 20 carries. Ryan Mathews ran for 73 yards and one TD on eight carries. Bradford didn’t get sacked and hit the ground only once.
”I think everybody has obviously been ashamed of the way that we’ve been playing,” center Jason Kelce said. ”The fact is that we have the quarterbacks, we have the running backs, and we have the skill players to go out there and win games on offense. As long as the offensive line gives them the opportunity to make plays, we’re going to make plays.”
The Eagles (2-3) host the NFC East-leading New York Giants (3-2) next Monday night. Eli Manning has led the Giants to three straight wins, including a 30-27 comeback victory over San Francisco on Sunday night.
JOB SECURITY: Caleb Sturgis missed his second extra point in two games since replacing injured kicker Cody Parkey, but coach Chip Kelly said the team won’t audition anyone this week. Sturgis made all four of his field-goal attempts.
”He’s starting to get into a little bit of a rhythm, so we’ll see how that goes,” Kelly said Monday. ”But I thought he had a good game.”
CHANGING THINGS: The Eagles ran 17 of their 33 run plays from under center instead of their usual shotgun formation. Kelly said he bases his calls on what the defense does. Murray clearly prefers running with the quarterback behind center.
”Whenever you can get under center and run the ball, I think is great and it helps out the offensive line to hide some of our runs,” Murray said.
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