The fans who showed up at Lambeau Field or tuned in on television were no doubt disappointed they didn’t get a chance to see Aaron Rodgers play.
Sam Bradford gave them their money’s worth.
The Philadelphia Eagles' new quarterback completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns. By the time Bradford punched out after one quarter, he had given the Eagles a 25-0 lead on the Packers.
It was the kind of performance coach Chip Kelly envisioned when he acquired Bradford in an offseason trade. Kelly has said he didn’t feel that Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez gave him the kind of quarterback play that could compete for a Super Bowl. So he traded Foles and a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford.
The Rams had given up on Bradford, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NFL draft, as a franchise quarterback. Bradford tore the ACL in his left knee twice, ending his 2013 and 2014 seasons. Kelly has said that franchise quarterbacks don’t change teams unless injuries are in the mix. He has cited Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as precedents.
In last week’s preseason win over the Baltimore Ravens, Bradford made his Eagles debut. He played a total of 14 snaps, completing 3 of 5 passes for 35 yards on a touchdown drive. But Bradford also took a shot at the knees from Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Throughout the week, Kelly wouldn’t commit to Bradford playing against Green Bay. But it seemed clear that Bradford needed the work. The shot from Suggs was a worrisome reminder of Bradford’s history, but it also was a sign that Bradford needed to get more comfortable in the pocket at game speed.
Against the Packers, Bradford looked much more comfortable. His second touchdown pass, to tight end Trey Burton, was a case in point. The Packers blitzed from the defensive left side. Bradford stayed in against the blitz, waiting for Burton to get free. He fired the pass as he was taken down by a defender.
Bradford looked as accurate and as comfortable as he did in organized team activity practices back in June. But this time, he wasn’t wearing the red jersey that signified that quarterbacks aren’t to be hit. Bradford faced a pass rush without flinching and was still able to deliver his passes on time and on target.
For Bradford, it was probably the end of his preseason work. The Eagles play the New York Jets Thursday night in their preseason finale. There’s a good chance the starters will mostly sit out that game.
With the Eagles set to open the regular season in Atlanta on Sept. 14, Bradford not only looked ready to be their starting quarterback, he looked an awful lot like Aaron Rodgers.