That’s how many times Sam Bradford was hit in his return to Philadelphia on Sunday. That’s a lot. That’s too much for anyone, especially a quarterback as immobile as Bradford and an offense that’s as one-dimensional as Minnesota’s has become with all their injuries. Still, all the credit in the world should go to Jim Schwartz and the Eagles defense, as they stymied Bradford and the Vikings offense all day.
Bradford was horrible. He finished the game 24-for-41 and 224 yards with one touchdown, but the score and 90 of those yards came on the final drive, when Bradford dinked-and-dunked eight of nine passes in garbage time before a 14-yard touchdown throw that mattered little in the 21-10 Eagles win. Before that drive, Bradford was 15-for-31 for 134 yards, an interception and two lost fumbles in the game. Bradford had four fumbles in all — two on that final drive that Minnesota recovered — as the defense rattled the thin Vikings offensive line all game.
It’s hard to articulate how bad Bradford was against his former team given how well he had played in the four previous games for Minnesota. So here’s some help in illustrating that.
Wentz wasn’t without his critics, too.
Facing the top defense in football, the rookie didn’t exactly play ‘winning’ football, despite getting the victory. Doug Pederson said after the game he thought Wentz played well. Or he was just being nice to his rookie quarterback while flat-out lying to the media. (It’s probably the latter.)
“I thought Carson overall played well,” Pederson said. “Played efficient. Made some good throws. I thought he forced a few early, with those picks, but really settled in and managed the game. That’s just the type of kid he is. He seems to get better each week.”
Wentz was probably not better than last week, which was his worst week so far. The week before, also a loss, he was very good and in the three wins he was also varying degrees of good. In at least one game he was great. In short: he isn’t getting better each week, and Pederson knows that, but a down week was expected against a defense as good as Minnesota. Still, it was really bad. For both quarterbacks.
Wentz was 16-for-28 with just 138 yards and a score on the game, adding six yards on five carries that included a huge fourth-down rush in the second half. Wentz also scored a two-point conversion on a quarterback keeper in the first half.
If those numbers are bad enough — because they are really bad — let’s not forget about two interceptions and three fumbles, one of which the team lost.
“First, that’s a good defense that we played,” Wentz said after the game. “Hats off on them, they made some plays and made it tough on us. I’ve got to be smarter with the football, but for me, it’s short-term memory. You’ve got to move on and make the next throw.”
“We have to clean some things up,” he said. “I think we had four turnovers today. That’s never good. You don’t win too many games when you do that, but our defense, they played unbelievable and kept us in the ballgame.”
Wentz knows his numbers should lose any team a game, especially against an opponent that came into Philly with an undefeated 5-0 record. But the Eagles defense was up to the task, turning Bradford and the Vikings over multiple times on quick-change plays after an Eagles mistake, holding the Vikings out of the end zone until the final drive despite Minnesota’s starting two drives inside the Eagles 20 yard line — one on the two — and coming away without any points.
Minnesota capitalized on just one of the Eagles’ four turnovers.
“A disappointing day today,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said after the game. “I thought we played…embarrassing is the word, in at least two of the phases. I’m very disappointed in the performance that we gave today.”
Zimmer ran down a litany of mistakes and missed chances the Vikings had on Sunday — they couldn’t gain a foot with two downs to get it and the game basically on the line— saying that with everything they did poorly, there was no was “no chance to win.”
Bradford was understandably curt in his answers after the game, giving one word or one sentence answers to several questions. He did say it was “good to see” Wentz and the Eagles players, coming back to town.
“I really don’t have any bitter feelings towards Philly,” Bradford did offer, in one of his longest answers. “It’s not like I was harboring any of that and trying to prove them wrong. I was just trying to help the guys in this locker room go out and get a win.”
Philly shouldn’t have any hard feelings toward Sam either, despite the pregame boos. If he’s going to put up a clunker like he and the Vikings did Sunday, he can come back whenever he wants. Wentz would probably love that.