He was near perfect in the preseason, and although quarterback Sam Bradford had a bit on a slow start on Monday night, the first-year Eagle showed in the second half that he can lead this offense. Unfortunately, Bradford and the team fell short in the season opener against Atlanta, dropping the decision, 26-24.
However, this game was the first of many to come this season. It is only Week 1, meaning there are 15 more games and 15 more times to prove the team can be explosive. The quarterback is confident the Eagles can pick up their play moving forward.
"I just felt like we were playing behind the sticks all day," Bradford said. "It seems like we couldn't really get anything going on first down. It was second-and-long. Penalties put us in second-and-really-long, third-and-really-long. I think the difference between the first half and the second half is we were much more efficient on first down in the second half. We played from ahead of the sticks. We got things going. Then once we got it rolling, we kind of kept it that way."
In all, Bradford ended the night with 36-of-52 for 336 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. But in the second half, Bradford was 21-of-25 for 221 yards including his lone touchdown.
The most impressive feat for the offense may have been its ability to overcome penalties. While penalties proved to be an issue for the Eagles throughout the entirety of the night, Bradford was able to help his team move past four on a 95-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. He and his teammates stayed focused on the task at hand and remained mentally tough.
"I think that it shows the fight we have on offense," Bradford said. "The one drive, the (13)-play drive, I don't know how many penalties we overcame on that drive, but we just kept going. I think it's a credit to our guys. Sometimes on offense, you get a penalty and it really puts you back. You kind of stall out. We kept fighting and kept running through them."
The Eagles' offense from the first half to the second half was night and day, especially Bradford's play. It was clear the quarterback's rust from not having played a regular season game since October 2013 was gone in the final 30 minutes. Appearing in only four drives this preseason, it is understandable that Bradford had a few kinks to work out with his new offense. Based off his second-half stats, the quarterback is clearly making those adjustments quickly and doing his best to lead the Eagles to success this season.
"It was fun. Even though we lost, I think just getting back out there and playing, especially in the second half, was a blast," Bradford said. "Once we got things rolling and took the lead, I don't know if I've been that excited in a long time. It was good to get that feeling. Hopefully, next week we can start a little faster and not dig ourselves into such a big hole."
The #Eagles began Week 1 of the regular season in Atlanta for Monday Night Football. View the full gallery here...