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> Eagles' Sam Bradford shines against Packers
post Aug 29 2015, 10:12 PM
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Eagles' Sam Bradford shines against Packers

Sam Bradford led the Eagles to a 25-point first quarter against the Packers. Matt Ludtke/AP

Phil Sheridan, ESPN Staff Writer

The fans who showed up at Lambeau Field or tuned in on television were no doubt disappointed they didn’t get a chance to see Aaron Rodgers play.

Sam Bradford gave them their money’s worth.

The Philadelphia Eagles' new quarterback completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. By the time Bradford punched out after one quarter, he had given the Eagles a 25-0 lead on the Packers.

It was the kind of performance coach Chip Kelly envisioned when he acquired Bradford in an offseason trade. Kelly has said he didn’t feel that Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez gave him the kind of quarterback play that could compete for a Super Bowl. So he traded Foles and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford.

The Rams had given up on Bradford, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL draft, as a franchise quarterback. Bradford tore the ACL in his left knee twice, ending his 2013 and 2014 seasons. Kelly has said that franchise quarterbacks don’t change teams unless injuries are in the mix. He has cited Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as precedents.

In last week’s preseason win over the Baltimore Ravens, Bradford made his Eagles debut. He played a total of 14 snaps, completing 3 of 5 passes for 35 yards on a touchdown drive. But Bradford also took a shot at the knees from Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Throughout the week, Kelly wouldn’t commit to Bradford playing against Green Bay. But it seemed clear that Bradford needed the work. The shot from Suggs was a worrisome reminder of Bradford’s history, but it was also a sign that Bradford needed to get more comfortable in the pocket at game speed.

Against the Packers, Bradford looked much more comfortable. His second touchdown pass, to tight end Trey Burton, was a case in point. The Packers blitzed from the defensive left side. Bradford stayed in against the blitz, waiting for Burton to get free. He fired the pass as he was taken down by a defender.

Bradford looked as accurate and as comfortable as he did in OTA practices back in June. But this time, he wasn’t wearing the red jersey that signified that quarterbacks aren’t to be hit. Bradford faced a pass rush without flinching and was still able to deliver his passes on time and on target.

For Bradford, it was probably the end of his preseason work. The Eagles play the New York Jets Thursday night in their preseason finale. There’s a good chance the starters will mostly sit that game out.

With the Eagles set to open the regular season in Atlanta on Sept. 14, Bradford not only looked ready to be their starting quarterback, he looked an awful lot like Aaron Rodgers.
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post Aug 30 2015, 06:05 AM
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Soldier #1654 of the Eagle Empire

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I get nervous with those kind of accolades. Loved the performance, but ... nervous.
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post Aug 30 2015, 06:45 AM
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Soldier #1654 of the Eagle Empire

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One thing Bradford doesn't need to do is shake off rust accumulated since his last regular-season action on Oct. 20, 2013. That's because there doesn't appear to be any. Against the Packers, he was poised and very nearly perfect. His quarterback rating of 156.7 was just a tick away from the highest-possible rating of 158.3, and was marked down by the league's nerdy formula only because the three shortish drives didn't require much in terms of yardage or yards per completion.
Nervous ...
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