It would be a stretch to say there have been two Sam Bradfords for the Eagles this season.
Clearly the former Heisman trophy-winner is slowly getting more comfortable with the Eagles offense, with his teammates and with playing tackle football again after missing so much time to injury as aRamover the last few seasons.
But in Sunday’s 39-17 win over the Saints, a trend continued for the quarterback — one that has him looking like a lost puppy in the first half of games and like a Pro Bowler in the second.
Bradford completed 13-of-15 passes (including eight-consecutive completions to start the half) for 188 yards and one touchdown in the second half against the Saints. In the first he threw two interceptions and was just 19-for-30.
“Maybe he just needs to see the looks a little bit more,” Chip Kelly said Monday. “He settles down a little bit. I know he has been statistically– when you look at it, and he really has been better, but I think maybe he just gets settled a little bit more. That’s probably a good question for him.”
In all this season,Bradford has completed 66-of-94 passes (more than a 70 percent clip) for 753 yards and six touchdowns. In contrast to his seasonQB rating of 83.7, his second half rating is 102.0.
“See if we get a scrimmage going before it, a double header — He’d be great at a double header,” the coach joked. “That would be awesome.”
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Sunday’s turnaround for Bradford was different than in other games this season. In stark contrast to games against the Falcons, Cowboys and Redskins (when the Eagles could not get anything going and went three-and-out with great frequency), the Eagles were moving the ball very well in the first half against the Saints.
“At halftime, we had moved the ball, I think we had 300 yards of offense at halftime,” Bradford said following his 333-yard performance Sunday.”I don’t think they had stopped us once. I was stopping us throwing interceptions in the red zone. So we knew it was still out there, we knew we were still able to move the football on them. That really wasn’t a problem, so I think at halftime we were still confident. And then to come out, I think we scored first drive out of halftime; that was big.”
Bradford got over his two red zone interceptions and used a bevy of successful short passes, and a potent run game to shake off the demons that seem to haunt him early in games.
The result was a much-needed win for the Eagles, with the Giants coming to town Monday Night in an NFC East showdown.
“It definitely felt good, especially since we got the win,” Josh Huff, who had a career-high 78 receiving yards said Sunday.”But it’s over right now and we have to go back and analyze the film and get ready for next week.”