PHI-WAS Grades: Best outing so far for Sam Bradford

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Philadelphia–Washington game.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

PHI-WAS Grades: Best outing so far for Sam Bradford

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Philadelphia–Washington game:


– The Eagles got off to a slow start versus Washington, but in the second half, the Eagles’ offense and Sam Bradford (+3.2) started to get going, as Bradford threw some pretty passes for touchdowns. In the first three weeks, Bradford didn’t complete any of his seven attempts over 20 yards. However, in Week 4 against Washington, he went four-for-eight for 176 yards and two touchdowns on passes over 20 yards.

– Rookie WR Nelson Agholor (-2.4) is still struggling to adjust to the pro game, as he continues his streak of four negatively graded games. This week, there were glimpses of his potential, as he hauled in a deep pass with one hand for 45 yards. However, on the next play, he dropped a pitch on a reverse to give Washington the ball back.

– The Eagles’ run defense gave up a 126 yards on the ground, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Philadelphia manhandled Washington’s offensive line in the run game, giving very little space to work. A lot of this had to do with the performance by both Bennie Logan (+3.7) and Beau Allen (+3.6) allowing 49 yards (minus the one run Chris Thompson had for 42 yards on third-and-long) between the tackles on 20 rush attempts for an average on 2.5 per carry. The Eagles forced Washington to win the game with Kirk Cousins’ (-0.4) arm rather than be beaten by the run game.

Top performers:

DL Vinny Curry (+4.8)
NT Beau Allen (+4.4)
NT Bennie Logan (+3.7)
OLB Brandon Graham (+3.3)
QB Sam Bradford (+3.2)



– Washington came into the game to try and help Kirk Cousins (-0.4) by getting the ball out of his hand quickly. On 66 percent of Cousins’ dropbacks the ball was out inside of 2.5 seconds, with only 11 passes over 10 yards, Washington tried to help Cousins out by getting the ball into the receivers hands and let them make plays, rather than Cousins attempting to take the top off the defense.

– First round rookie Brandon Scherff (RG -1.8) is not the top tier player that Washington wants right now; he has been near average as a run blocker, this week taking a slight step backwards even in that regard. The bigger story on Washington’s offensive line has been the play of Kory Lichtensteiger (C -10.7), who has struggled this season after grading out as a top-10 center last season. This season, Lichtensteiger has been the worst center by some margin, struggling in the run and pass game. After last season Lichtensteiger, has shown that he can perform well at center, but the struggles this season have to be of major concern for Washington going forward.

– After playing only 44 snaps in the first three weeks, sixth round rookie Kyshoen Jarrett (CB +3.1) was not overmatched versus the Eagles. Playing every defensive snap, Jarrett allowed three catches on seven targets for 23 yards. While his work in the passing game was very good, it was Jarrett’s work in run support that was impressive for a rookie corner; Jarrett had two stops in the run game on 17 run plays. If Jarrett is able to preform at a good level verse the run and pass, Washington should do well against teams that want to run outside.

Top performers:

OLB Trent Murphy (+6.1)
CB Kyshoen Jarrett (+3.1)
OL Trent Williams (+2.8)
CB Bashaud Breeland (+2.6)
OLB Ryan Kerrigan (+2.3)

  • John Sheperd

    A negative grade for Kirk Cousins? It seems like whatever formula PFF uses seems to favor the deep ball. What about all the third down conversions that Cousins made? Furthermore, Bradford had a few deep balls, but look at his completion %. Pathetic grade.

    • Four Touchdowns

      I wonder if there’s any correlation to deep ball throws and wins? Because otherwise, I’d think it’d be like runningbacks — it’s better to have one that consistently gets 3-4 yards than a feast/famine RB that hits homeruns or gets stuffed. I’d assume more completions = more TOP = positive grading.

  • Salty Dog

    It seems to me that PFF’s rating system may over-reward spectacular (chunk yardage) plays and under-reward consistently good plays (chain movers). I know Sam Bradford had some drops, but he didn’t consistently move the chains (only 6 passing first downs) whereas Kirk Cousins did (18 passing first downs). It’s noted that Bradford was 4-8 for 176 yards on passes more than 20 yards downfield. That means he was 11-20 for 94 yards on everything else. Basically, it was a boom or bust approach. Either you hit a long bomb, or you’re not moving the chains very frequently. On the other hand, Kirk Cousins had at most 2 completions of more than 20 yards (35 of his attempts were less than 10 yards), and while his passes weren’t spectacular, they kept the chains moving to the tune of 18 first downs. I’m guessing he got a -0.4 grade because few of his passes were spectacular (thus he mostly got somewhere near a zero grade on most, I’m guessing). Basically, Cousins should get credit for almost all of the points the ‘Skins scored (because without him consistently getting first downs, they wouldn’t have scored), but it appears Bradford gets huge bonus points for 3 long passing TDs whereas Cousins doesn’t get credited with the primary role he played in moving the chains and putting his team in a position to kick field goals and score via short plays.

    PFF may want to look into a more meta approach to scoring. You’re catching the great and terrible plays very well. I think you may be missing the consistent ones that could be measured based on looking at drives as a whole. If you aren’t already doing this, credit for the end result of a drive should be distributed amongst the players in terms of how much they contributed to the end result of that drive. If a QB dinks and dunks for 62 yards on a drive that results in a 1 yard TD by the RB, the QB should get almost as much credit as a 62 yard TD pass. I’m guessing he doesn’t, even though both were worth equal value on the scoreboard. Guessing the QB gets significant bonus points for a 62 yard TD whereas the other gets not nearly as many points on the drive overall because it was a series of small plays that added up to the same value in terms of what he added toward the end result of the game.

    Put in another way: it seems like PFF’s analysis is pre-SABR, where baseball was measured mostly by “big events” – strikeouts and home runs, for example. Now that there’s so much work being put into analytics, we know that a pitcher who consistently gets ground balls but doesn’t strike out as many batters can be equally, if not more, valuable than a high-K pitcher. Similarly, a batter who has a high OBP and gap power can be equally or more valuable than a slugger who hits a ton of homers, but also strikes out a lot.

    In this game, Kirk Cousins was the team of low power, high OBP guys (think the Oakland A’s of the Moneyball era). He consistently made small plays that added up. Sam Bradford was the high power, high strikeout guy. Lots of big flies, but when he wasn’t hitting them out of the park, he wasn’t contributing much. Both ended up approximately equivalent in value since Bradford should have had 24 points on the board, adding in the missed XP and FG, versus 23 for Cousins.

    • bsn

      Converting a 3rd and 3 is easier to do than converting a a 3rd and 7. That’s why, despite the amount of consistent completions, Cousins’ grade isn’t that good. Bradford faced must pass situations much more often than Cousins did. Cousins’ 3rd down situations were ones where the offense could run, screen, or throw all in a multitude of ways.

      • John Sheperd

        No, they are penalizing the West Coast style basically, which in our case is a dink and dunk offense. And anyways, a lot of the sacks on Bradford were his fault, since he kept on holding to the ball. There should be a penalty for that, and a penalty for not completing more than 60% of the passes thrown. The Redskins owned the time of possession stat due to the third down conversions made by Cousins. That needs to count for something.

      • Brian

        That makes sense and is fair, not saying Bradford didn’t have a more impressive day and he deserves a higher grade, but basically Cousins had a neutral day. Quick, short, safe passes that were generally easy and could let the screens and other options be there while all he did was manage, but that doesnt seem “negative” to me, just neutral

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    • John Sheperd

      It seems PFF does not value third down conversions a whole lot. Also, West Coast is a dink and dink style. By grading Cousins in this manner, I can see now why Aaron Rodgers received a not so good grade last week. You cannot penalize a style.

    • Izach

      That’s always been an issue

  • Brian

    Given Rodgers poor grade last week, and that of Eli and now Cousins and reading the analysis, I gotta say…it seems PFF in a way punishes certain systems. Like I get Eli, for example, did mainly quick, short, unspectacular throws but does that warrant a negative grade? In my book, that would be neutral, if not slightly positive.

    While I get deep, difficult passing warrants higher grades, shouldn’t “negative” grades be for actual bad play? Missed throws, should be picks, mistakes etc while simply a dink and dunk, while unspectacular, should be neutral or mildly good?

    • Four Touchdowns

      I would think that a good decision that results in a positive play would be a no-brainer to be a positive score. Playing QB is mostly about fast decision-making at the pro level, no?


        A positive play doesn’t necessarily deserve a positive mark. The point of positive marks means that the player performed better than the average NFL player at that position. An average NFL QB is expected to make simple throws to open receivers for 7 yard pick ups. If you can’t consistently do that, you aren’t in the NFL. Therefore such a play gets a 0 grade, regardless of whether it picked up a 1st down or resulted in a TD.

        • crosseyedlemon

          Conversely a negative play doesn’t necessarily deserve a negative mark. For a grading system to be useful it has to be flexible, taking into account a multitude of factors relevant to the actual situation being accessed. The 7 yard pick ups you mention sound good as a theoretical model but what if the game is being played in a blinding blizzard with a wind chill of -30? Performance expectation have to be adjusted in a situation such as that otherwise you end up comparing apples and oranges.

    • Malachi

      negative grades only come from negative plays. short, easy throws that are completed don’t grade negatively often tho they are neutral, while it’s harder to earn a very high grade that way it’s still possible in a cumulative system

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  • Kyle

    How can PFF grade the entire offense, specifically the offensive line, so poorly yet the results on the field are so very different. If we were such a poor blocking team then how could we possibly have the best rushing offense in the NFL? An example being last year, Chester and Kory were rated very highly yet the eye test would both dictate they were terrible. Now the eye test is telling me Moses and Schereff are playing very well yet the grades would indicate otherwise. I’ve always been a big fan of the site, but the growing discrepancy between the on field product and the grades are causing me to lose some faith in them.

    • Kyle

      What this site needs to do to take the next step forward is to have grades based on the offensive system, not a universal grading system. That way you wouldn’t get head scratchers like Rodgers 5 TD game where he graded negatively or Brandon Schereff not being knocked for cut blocks and that type of thing

      • crosseyedlemon

        What this site needs to do to take the next step forward is to provide a couch and psychiatrist for those members that respond to their own comments. That’s just weird.

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  • Backinmd

    Bradford looked a lot better this game .. Maybe he’s getting his mojo back – in spurts …Wouldn’t any NFL QB get a little more credit for a 90 yard drive ? ..Know Cousins doesn’t have the arm strength Bradford has but he should have a higher grade for not throwing any interceptions …Anyway, it was a great win for the Redskins …HTTR ! ..Like PFF but their grading system is kinda confusing – to me anyway …Also thought the Skins OL graded out better ……………….