PHI-NYJ Grades: Bradford struggles, despite win
Here are the top takeaways from Sunday’s Philadelphia-New York game, including the highest-graded players from each team:
– Despite the win, QB Sam Bradford (-3.5) still played poorly. He again failed to complete a pass targeted beyond 20 yards, and averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. Todd Bowles’ blitzes caused particular issue, with Bradford completing just 3-of-12 attempts for 14 yards. Although Eagles’ receivers dropped five passes, and Bradford himself threw three passes away, his location was poor even on completions, limiting yards after the catch. He now ranks third from last in our quarterback grades through Week 3—a full 11 places behind Nick Foles.
– One of the biggest concerns for the Eagles’ defense coming into the season was the strong safety position. Walter Thurmond (+2.8) has made a strong case for nailing down that spot with his performances so far in 2015. He was excellent against the Jets, recording a pair of defensive stops in run defense, while making an athletic interception that sealed the game for Philadelphia. That makes three positively-graded games in a row for the former Seahawk, who is now second overall in our safety rankings.
– After being inactive for the first couple of weeks, injuries forced DE Brandon Bair (+2.5) into the lineup. He responded with a very good outing in his 46 snaps, recording a positive grade in both facets of play (run defense and pass coverage). Against the run, Bair recorded three defensive stops on just 13 run snaps. As a pass rusher, he had a hurry and pair of batted passes, finishing with a +1.3 grade— top amongst Eagles.
SS Walter Thurmond (+2.8)
DE Brandon Bair (+2.5)
LT Jason Peters (+2.2)
TE Brent Celek (+2.2)
CB Eric Rowe (+1.8)
New York Jets
– After such a dominant start to the season for WR Brandon Marshall (-3.9), his struggles in this game were surprising. The loss of Eric Decker to injury put pressure on Marshall to perform, but pressing for big plays backfired in a major way. His attempted a lateral, but bounced it off Connor Barwin’s face mask for a fumble. That wasn’t his only mistake, as it was his drop which led to Thurmond’s game sealing interception. Overall, although he gained 109 yards with 10 catches on 14 targets and a touchdown, Marshall had a pair of drops and two interceptions when targeted. The Jets will hope a refocused Marshall returns for their next game.
– He may be 31 years old, but ILB David Harris (+2.2) is at the top of his game. In run defense, he recorded three stops and forced a fumble that could have enabled a Jets comeback. Harris also stood out in coverage where he led the Jets with a +1.4 grade, allowing two receptions on four targets for 19 yards. Harris is now our top ranked inside linebacker by some margin.
– After a good rookie season, SS Calvin Pryor (-2.8) was expected to kick on. He didn’t have his best game against the Eagles, struggling in run defense (-2.1) in particular. Although he made four defensive stops, he also missed a tackle and generally took some poor angles throughout the game. Pryor’s pursuit angles were off in coverage, as well as run defense. On one play he allowed Darren Sproles to get to the outside and pick up a first down on third-and-long. While his performance in this game was a disappointment, it’s only Pryor’s third game graded -1.0 or below in his career, so we don’t expect the poor form to continue.
ILB David Harris (+2.2)
C Nick Mangold (+1.6)
HB Bilal Powell (+0.7)
CB Darrelle Revis (+0.6)
FS Marcus Gilchrist (+0.5)