Eagles Wake-Up Call: Supporting Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford looked lost in the Eagles’ 20-10 loss to the Cowboys. Sometimes he made bad reads, and sometimes he made bad throws. A few times, including his first interception, he even did both.
But according to several of his teammates, that’s expected when the quarterback doesn’t get any help.
“We couldn’t run the ball, and when we can’t run the ball it won’t be easy for him,” Brent Celek said. “It’s tough when you’re a one-dimensional team. We played like garbage.”
Bradford completed 23 of his 37 passes for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Although quarterbacks often receive the blame for inept offensive performances like the Eagles’, his teammates readily pointed the finger elsewhere, especially at the offensive line and anyone else who had a hand in blocking.
The quarterback missed wide open targets multiple times, but he also didn’t always have good pass protection to deliver the throw. When he did have time to make the throw, his receivers didn’t always run the right routes. And when the receivers were where they were supposed to be, they didn’t always catch the ball.
“We tried to take a couple shots down the field, but we also have to protect him so he can throw the ball down the field,” Chip Kelly said. “I don’t think he had a lot of time on some of those. I think there was a combination of a lot of things. We had a couple drops on key third-downs that could have extended drives and kind of got us into a rhythm.”
Although Philadelphia clearly struggled in the air, their ground performance was even worse. After rushing the ball just 16 times for 63 yards against the Falcons, the Eagles took an even bigger step back yesterday.
Their trio of running backs combined for 15 carries and -2 yards. The only reason the Eagles finished with positive rushing yards is because Bradford—the team’s leading rusher—carried the ball twice for nine yards.
“The offensive line didn’t do a good job of creating anything,” Lane Johnson said. “The defense was getting penetration all night, stopping our inside zone. We tried to run outside a few times; that got stopped. That’s when we had to start throwing the ball. Whatever we did, nothing was working.”
Although Bradford clearly needs to work on developing a rhythm and connecting with his receivers, he also needs support. His teammates, who left Lincoln Financial Field yesterday without answers to many questions, did agree on one simple statement: if the Eagles really want the passing game to open up, they need to fix their running game first.
“Obviously it doesn’t get any worse than that on offense,” Jason Kelce said. “It’s the worst rushing attack I think I’ve been a part of here. Right now, it doesn’t matter who the running back is, we are not doing anything upfront to give him an opportunity. We have got to get this fixed up front. We’ve got to get it corrected.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
“I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get to him.” Byron Maxwell on giving up a touchdown.
What Chip Kelly told reporters after yesterday’s game.
“We just have to get out of our own way.” Sam Bradford on the offense.
The Eagles offense was inept, and three other key takeaways from the Cowboys game.
Instant observations: What Tim saw yesterday in the Eagles’ loss.
Both Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks left the Cowboys game injured.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mike Sielski says Chip Kelly is to blame for the Eagles’ bad start.
All of this – this unspeakable, 20-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys; this 0-2 start; this offense that is not outscheming or outmuscling or outculturing anyone – rests in a pile at Chip Kelly’s toes. If it was reasonable to think that after an offseason of such upheaval, it might take the Eagles a while to find their stride, the last two weeks have been inexcusable.
Byron Maxwell dared offenses to keep throwing at him, writes Eliot Shorr-Parks.
The Cowboys went after Maxwell early-and-often Sunday, and eventually hit him with a 42-yard touchdown pass to receiver Terrence Williams in the fourth quarter.
After the catch, a short route to the middle, Maxwell reached for Williams, but did not run with him.
Chip Kelly will speak to the media at 1 p.m.