Eagles defend Sam Bradford, blame running-game woes

Sam Bradford has gotten plenty of criticism regarding his poor play as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, but his teammates and head coach have come to his defense.

Don’t blame Bradford, they say. Instead, blame the offensive line for making it impossible for the Eagles to feature anything resembling a balanced offense.

“We couldn’t run the ball, and when we can’t run the ball it won’t be easy for him,” Brent Celek said, via phillymag.com. “It’s tough when you’re a one-dimensional team. We played like garbage.”

Celek wasn’t the only one singing this tune, either.

“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.”

Running back DeMarco Murray suffered through what Elias has determined was a “historically ineffective” performance, rushing for just two yards on 13 carries (0.2 yards per carry). But it wasn’t like he had much of a chance to make anything happen to begin with. Dallas oftentimes had men in the backfield before Murray even had received the handoff from Bradford.

Without even a hint of a rushing attack to help balance the offense, Bradford endured a miserable outing. He passed for just 224 yards on 37 attempts (6.05 yards per attempt) with a lone touchdown and two interceptions.

Also contributing to Bradford’s frustrating day were some key drops on third downs that could have not only helped his stat line but also could have helped the offense as a whole gain some momentum — something that just never occurred on Sunday against the Cowboys.

Speaking after the game, Chip Kelly addressed the poor play of his offensive line and Bradford’s struggles.

“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,” 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.”

The theme is common, and it’s also based in fact for the Eagles.

While Bradford hasn’t been a bright shining light for this team, he may not be the biggest problem facing Philadelphia in the weeks to come.  If the offensive line cannot figure out how to protect him and make hay in the running game, then the Eagles will continue losing games.

Meanwhile, Evan Mathis is probably happy to be in Denver, playing with Peyton Manning and the Broncos.