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Eagles’ Kelly not about to bench Bradford

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The Sports Xchange

PHILADELPHIA — Sam Bradford has been woefully inconsistent through the Philadelphia Eagles’ first six games of the 2015 season. He has a 65.6 passer rating and a 55.5 completion percentage in the first halves of games and a 111.4 rating and a 71.1 completion percentage in the second halves.

He already has thrown nine interceptions, which is the second most in the league to Denver’s Peyton Manning. Three of those interceptions came Monday night in the Eagles’ 27-7 win over the New York Giants.

But head coach Chip Kelly made it clear Tuesday that he is not considering replacing Bradford with backup Mark Sanchez.

“Sam is our quarterback,” Kelly said. “We have full confidence in Sam.”

Bradford, who has missed most of the past two years with ACL tears in his left knee, is 28th in the league in passing (80.0). He is 30th in third-down passing with a 48.5 rating.

The Eagles, who are 30th in the league in third-down efficiency, converted a season-high 37.5 percent of their third-down opportunities (6-for-16) against the Giants, which is more a condemnation of how bad they’ve been on third down this season than a sign of a job well done.

Bradford again was largely ineffective throwing the football on third down, going 6-for-11 for just 46 yards and an interception. He threw for three first downs on third down, but two of them came in the final 18 minutes when the Eagles had a 17-point lead. His 4.00 yards-per-attempt average on third down is the worst in the league. The only guy with a lower third-down completion percentage than Bradford (46.4) is Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles (44.8).

But the interceptions are the biggest concern. Four of Bradford’s nine interceptions came in the red zone, including two last week against the Saints and one more Monday when he underthrew tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone.

Bradford never has been a guy who throws a lot of interceptions. In fact, when he was traded to the Eagles in the offseason, he had the fifth best interception percentage in NFL history.

“There’s not one thing (causing his interception problems),” Kelly said. “At times, the rush will break down and he has to move his feet. We also had some inconsistency and some wrong routes run (against the Giants). So that kind of puts him in a situation where he’s expecting the receiver to be here and he’s not there.

“We’ve had communication issues (between Bradford and his receivers). A few guys have gotten hurt and we were jockeying the receivers around. But that’s not an excuse. Those are just thing we need to continue to work on as a group to get everybody on the same page.”

INJURY NOTES: LB DeMeco Ryans, who had a momentum-shifting interception in the first quarter, suffered a concussion in the second quarter and left the game. He played just 38 snaps. His status for Sunday’s game against the Panthers is uncertain. … LB Mychal Kendricks sat out his third game in four weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury. He may return this week or the team may prefer to wait until after the bye week next week to bring him back.

REPORT CARD VS. GIANTS:

–RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus. DeMarco Murray registered his first 100-yard rushing game as an Eagle, collecting 109 yards on 22 carries, though 54 of those yards came on nine fourth-quarter carries when the game was well in hand and the Eagles were just trying to run out the clock. Ryan Mathews had another efficient game, picking up 40 yards on nine carries.

–PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus. Sam Bradford continued to be woefully inconsistent and turnover-prone. He had three interceptions for just the second time in his career. On the plus side, he completed 13 of 17 passes in the second half and averaged 9.4 yards per attempt.

–RUN DEFENSE: A-minus. The Eagles ran their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 18 games. With Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan and Cedric Thornton dominating the line of scrimmage, they held the Giants’ running backs to just 3.1 yards per carry.

–PASS DEFENSE: B-plus. Eli Manning completed his first four passes and drove the Giants 80 yards on eight plays for an easy first-possession touchdown. But then the Eagles cracked down. They held Odell Beckham Jr. to 8.7 yards per catch and sacked Eli Manning three times and intercepted him twice. Manning averaged just 5.0 yards per attempt.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: A. Caleb Sturgis made both of his field-goal attempts. The Eagles’ coverage units shut down Giants return ace Dwayne Harris. Punter Donnie Jones averaged 54.3 yards per attempt and finished with a 49.0 net average.

–COACHING: A. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis unveiled a few new coverage and blitz looks that gave Eli Manning and his receivers problems. Chip Kelly’s offense finally scored a first-quarter touchdown.


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