The last two games have been tough for the Eagles. But no player has arguably taken the losses harder than Sam Bradford, who has been forced by injury to watch helplessly from the sidelines as his team fell from one game below .500 to 4-7 in the course of just five days.
In a 20-19 loss to the Dolphins in Week 10, Bradford suffered a concussion and an injury to his non-throwing shoulder than knocked him out of the game in the third quarter. The concussion is no longer an issue, instead it's Bradford's shoulder. Heading into a must-win road meeting with the 10-1 Patriots this Sunday, though, the veteran signal-caller expects to play, barring a setback.
"Anytime you lose it's tough. But when you're hurt, and you're not able to be out there fighting with your guys, helping the team and doing whatever you can do, I think it makes it even worse," he said. "I feel good. I feel much better than I did at this point last week. I think I've made a lot of progress. I feel more comfortable out there with what I've been able to do on the field."
Bradford was hoping to play against the Lions on Thanksgiving, but after being evaluated by Eagles trainers on the day of the game, they and head coach Chip Kelly made the joint decision to hold him back. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and noted that if he had to play a game today he would likely suit up.
Despite the Eagles' struggles in his absence and the team's 4-7 record, Bradford understands the importance of Sunday's game, and really the remainder of Philadelphia's regular season schedule. Washington and New York lead the way in the NFC East with matching 5-6 records, while the Cowboys sit at 3-8 and Tony Romo is likely out for the year with a broken collarbone. With five games left to play and meetings with both the Redskins and Giants remaining on their schedule, the Eagles are still within striking distance of a division crown and a trip to the playoffs.
"The good news is we're still only a game back in our division," said Bradford, who nearly got the St. Louis Rams into the playoffs with a 7-9 record as a rookie in 2010. "Obviously the season hasn't gone the way we had hoped for, but that being said we're still in a position to get on a roll here and make the playoffs. ... Every game from here on out is critical, and I think we're all aware of that."
But although it's sometimes hard to do so, the 28-year-old is trying his best not to think about playoff scenarios, or tiebreakers, or any of that stuff. He knows he has to stay in the moment to be successful, and it all starts with finding a way to win on Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.