Sam Bradford’s throwing woes
By Ryan Crane
Despite a 20-point win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, Sam Bradford continues to make glaring errors. Almost none of the errors in the past two weeks have cost the Philadelphia Eagles anything by way of outcome, however, elite offenses in the league will eventually capitalize on continued mistakes.
One of Sam Bradford’s three interceptions against the Giants marked number four on the year from the red zone. While the Eagles had trouble last year with scoring touchdowns within the red zone, few of those missed chances were the result of turnovers.
Bradford is now tied for second in the league with nine interceptions. Fortunately for Bradford, the defense led by Fletcher Cox and Connor Barwin are preventing offenses from turning the turnovers into points, but those are points also staying off the board for Philadelphia.
Additionally, Bradford has soared a few passes that have led to untimely incompletions and interceptions, including another last night. Add to that more miscues with the snap count and the offense still looks like it’s working out all the kinks.
There are two positives to come out of all of Bradford’s errors: One is that the Eagles are taking chances down the field. A pair of completions over 30 yards to Riley Cooper, one for a touchdown, and longer over the middle completions to Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews started to stretch the field for the Eagles.
The other positive is that DeMarco Murray was eventually able to gain chunks of yards in the second half once the defense respected the pass. Not to mention how the rate of play tired the Giants into sloppy coverage and minimal pressure on Bradford. Long passes opening up the running game will help in lowering Bradford’s passing attempts. Bradford is currently eighth in the league with 228 attempts. The percentage is still poor at nearly 26 attempts per interception, but the more help he can get on the ground the better.
The dampener behind the recent success for the Eagles passing game is the quality of opponents. The Saints are ninth in the league in most passing yards allowed while the Giants are third. Jon Gruden mentioned at one point during the telecast of last night’s game how impressive it was that the Giants were getting production out of a group of defensive backs that he’s never heard of. If Bradford is continuing to struggle against weaker defenses, there may need to be a few changes in game plan for the superior ones.
With Nelson Agholor out of last night’s game and Riley Cooper and Josh Huff missing some plays with injuries, the receiving core has some work to do of its own. At one point last night, Darren Sproles was lined up as a primary receiver just to fill in spots.
Regardless, the past two weeks trended in a positive direction for the Eagles with respect to the passing game. The offensive line is giving Bradford time to throw and the running game is keeping defenses honest. It will be interesting to see how it all carries over to the undefeated Panthers in Week Seven.
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