It's not often that an NFL quarterback throws three interceptions and leaves the field with a win. It's even rarer that such a victory comes in blowout fashion. But thanks in large part to the sensational play of the Eagles' defense on Monday night, Sam Bradford can count himself amongst the lucky ones.
Philadelphia's defense held the Giants to just 247 yards of total offense, 80 of which came on an eight-play touchdown drive by New York that opened the game. That march down the field culminated in the team's only scoring play of the game, a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr. Over the final 55 minutes and 23 seconds of the game, the Eagles' defense pitched a shutout, and Bradford and the offense were able to muster 20 points – seven more came via a Nolan Carroll pick-six – to come away with a 27-7 victory.
"Our defense was outstanding tonight," the veteran quarterback after a win that propelled Philadelphia into first place in the NFC East. "I think all the credit goes to them. ... They created a lot of turnovers tonight. That always gives us momentum, that always gives us juice."
The first points scored by the Eagles' offense came after a DeMeco Ryans interception in the first quarter, with Bradford orchestrating a seven-play, 78-yard scoring drive that ended with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper in the end zone.
"That was huge," he said of the early touchdown. "Great concentration, great catch by Cooper. I left that ball a little short, and he did a good job staying with it and making that play. ... For us to be able to come out and put a touchdown up on the second drive is something that we haven't done. ... It was big for us."
In fact, it was the first time the Eagles had scored a touchdown in the first quarter of a game all season. For all its potential, Philadelphia's offense has not lived up to the expectations hoisted upon it by preseason prognosticators. But in the past two weeks, the team has posted its two best offensive performances of the season, and although Bradford hasn't been flawless, he's done enough to manage 20-plus point victories in each game. In those two games combined, he's completed 56 of his 83 passes (67.5 percent) for 613 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.
That last number comes as somewhat of a surprise, especially to Bradford, who has thrown nine picks through six games this year after never throwing more than 1.0 per game in any of his previous four seasons.
"It's something that I never really had a problem with in my career," he said. "This is kind of new to me, but we're going to get it fixed. I am going to get it fixed. And hopefully we are going to eliminate that from our offense."
With a short week ahead of him, Bradford will look to bounce right back against the 5-0 Panthers when the team travels to Carolina this Sunday. Under defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, who is familiar to Eagles fans, the Panthers have allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes (5) and have notched the second-most interceptions (8).
"We've won our last two at home, we've won three of our last four, and that's really how we're handling the rest of the season," Bradford said. "Next week, we have a big one against Carolina, and that's really all that we are concerned with right now."
The Eagles faced the Giants for Monday Night Football, sporting their #BackInBlack uniforms. View the full gallery here...