The Many Wide Open Receivers Sam Bradford Didn’t See

In Sunday’s frustrating loss to Carolina, Sam Bradford actually played much better than earlier in the season, and he was hurt by a bad rash of receiver drops. You’ve heard that several times already, and it’s true.

On most of the check downs he was criticized for, Carolina just did a great job of covering and Bradford made the right call. Other plays were designed swing passes.

But a close look at the coaches tape shows that he also missed several open receivers who would have made much better targets.

Start with the interception, which Jordan Matthews definitely should have caught — even though it was one of the few times Bradford threw behind his receiver in this game (after doing that far too often earlier in the season). Three receivers were open on the play for short passes at the 25, and Matthews was much less open than Josh Huff or Miles Austin out wide (circled in blue):

Bradford's read on Matthews int

On the next drive, Bradford took a coverage sack on 2nd and 9, and — as on many plays — Carolina’s secondary covered all of the receiving options very well. Here though, Bradford missed a great opportunity to run on the right side of the line. Every potential tackler within 20 yards had a blocker. Instead, Kawaan Short smothered him for a 7-yard loss:

Bradford room to scramble vs Carolina

The much-discussed drops were very clear in the All-22 view, too. On the very next play, Bradford tossed a perfect short floater 5 yards downfield to Murray, who had room to run but just completely whiffed on the ball.

By this point, Jason Peters was out with back spasms and the Panthers’ rush was causing problems. With 12:51 left in the second quarter, Sam did a good job feeling the pressure and scrambled for two yards. But he failed to see Zach Ertz wide open at midfield, just behind the linebackers, for what could have easily been a 30-yard gain. (See photo at the top of this item.)

That left the Eagles with 4th and 1. Bradford rolled right, looked like he was about to throw downfield, then put his shoulder down and burst between two Panthers (who collided with each other, hard) for a tough first down at Philadelphia’s 48. It was an awesome and inspiring play.

But at the moment Sam looked like he was about to throw, he was staring right at Josh Huff, wide open at Carolina’s 40 with a lot of room to run:

Huff open on scramble v CAR

The short gain kept the drive alive, but a holding penalty on Kelce put the Birds in a hole and they were forced to punt.

It was great to see Bradford throwing accurately (for the most part) and even running for first downs. But it would have been far better if he saw and hit his open receivers.


31 Responses

  1. If Bradford were playing Madden ’15 this article would be remotely relevant. In the real world there are 6’3 blockers coming at you and read progressions. You could do this with Tom Brady and find open receivers. Seriously this is a terrible attempt at being Jaws and looking at the tape. Play 2 minutes of touch football, come back, apologize for writing this.

    1. I’ll make sure Sal Pal has some new alarming statistic of how bad Bradford has truly been by the time he’s on Mikey Miss on Friday.

    2. Seeing those open WRs and making the right decisions is what separates good/ok QBs from great ones. Guys like Brady, Rodgers, or Brees, would have seen at least half those openings and made the right decision. Those right decisions are what make those guys great and Bradford just average. To be fair, the O-line hasn’t been doing him any favors this season, especially when Peters went down. But Bradford has to eventually show that he can make those tough decisions and have the confidence to stay in there and make good throws.

    1. He is injured. Happend in the Falcons game which he played amazing in. It’s hard to catch with a fractured hand , and he’s not bitching about it at all. He will be fine.

  2. This could be the stupidest article ever written. You’re blaming bradford for probably going to his primary receiver on the first play. Making a throw that should definitely have been caught. Then blaming him for doing something everyone has complained he doesn’t do and that’s tuck and run for a first. Not to mention the complaint that he didn’t hit an open receiver wouldn’t have mattered anyway due to a holding. I agree with th guy above, let the professionals handle the tape break down

    1. Brilliant ^^^^^

      Seriously Saltveit. Going to Harvard and being a Chip Kelly fanboy doesn’t make you an analyst.

      In your first screen grab, the TE (ertz?) is only open because Bradford has taken off across the line of scrimmage.

      This site needs to stick what to what it does well: painfully dull and boring Jim posts on the Sixers, self-serving posts by Kyle to boost his fragile ego and a terrific place to visit for comment section while defacating. That’s it, plain and simple

  3. He blows and Chip blows….Gay Jeffy mesmerized by tricks and glitter….but keep coming sheeeeeeppppppppppp baaaaaaaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  4. “The many wide open receivers Sam Bradford didn’t see”

    you then proceed to give only 3 half ass examples of guys he “didn’t see”. Sorry Mark, but you really exposed yourself here for being lazy. Not every loss is a QB’s fault. And please people give up on the “well the ball could have been thrown better” bullshit. I shudder to think if Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady played here with these receivers and have to listen to these “bloggers” criticize them for not throwing the ball on he money every time. Because those guys are all over the place as well, but their guys make plays and catch the ball. It’s not just you Mark or Kyle or Jim but a lot of bloggers on fan sites really don’t know what their looking at and/or have never stepped on a field of any kind. The moron on BGN blamed Bradford for his receivers dropping balls.

    This is where i kind of agree with Whitlock, but he doesn’t have a clue either. He just “paid his dues” to share his clueless opinion

    If you want to criticize someone from Sunday’s game, how bout we take a look at everyone’s favorite LB Mychael Kendricks. The guy was out of position on just about every play, aside from the sack he had. Even on the Tolbert TD that everyone likes to shit on Maxwell for, Kendricks was actually in better position to make a tackle, but he’s like some sort of sacred cow for Eagles fans. People also bitched about Chip paying for guys coming off injuries, yet when he signed Kendricks everyone rejoiced…..and he’s never healthy

    1. Mychael Kendricks is a self-serving fraud and his “Angry-Bird” shtick got old and boring after his first training camp.

      No one blames him though because dipshits like Cataldi and Gargano (especially) pump him up on their radio shows like he is Lawrence Taylor.

      However, Sam Bradford is also to blame in that he is a career mediocre quarterback and he is playing like a mediocre quarterback. Anyone who thought he was going to become some Super Bowl winning QB just because of a change of scenery (cough-KLYE-Cough-CATALDI-Cough-GARGANO-cough) are just ignorant Chip Kelly fanboys.

  5. This is a really, really bad piece of football writing. But look I wrote a comment so I guess it worked?

  6. The one play where you have a solid point is the 4th down play. Huff is open. HOWEVER, the only thing that matters on this play is getting the first down, which he did. Imagine how bad you’d flame the guy for not running if he threw it to Huff and it wasn’t completed. He had a decent game. Let it go. Without drops and a couple stupid penalties, he throws for 300, completes 70% with no INTs, and beats an undefeated team on the road. Why don’t we talk about the “dominant” (LOL) defense that was anointed after one good game against a banged up, mediocre team in the Giants.

    1. I don’t think we disagree. The run for the first down was a great play (though it exposed him to injury). That’s why I wrote:
      >> put his shoulder down and burst between two Panthers ..for a tough first down at Philadelphia’s 48. It was an awesome and inspiring play.

      But it could have been more. And that’s kind of what was wrong with Bradford’s game Sunday– he was trying to survive, first down by first down, instead of going for the jugular and aiming to score.

      1. Fair enough about what you wrote (“awesome and inspiring play”). But, I do think that is a play, given that it’s 4th down, that you ‘try to survive’. I just don’t think this is the game to get on Bradford. It may have even been his best complete game of the year, no?

        The other play I forgot to comment on was the interception that bounced off Matthews. It is true that it was a little behind him, but I haven’t seen anywhere that it HAD to be behind him because of the pressure he was getting in his face.

  7. How many playoff games has this guy won? ZERO. How many has he been to? ZERO.
    Gimme the damn ball!!!!

  8. In the NFC game vs Bucs Childress kept telling Reid ” I CAN’T BELIEVE HE MISSED THE OPEN MAN”
    associate of mine worked for the Eagles on/off field. had great stories.

  9. as a member of the Eagles I feel that my perspective is more valuable. saltveit and I studied the film for hours before coming to this conclusion, im an ugly bald fuck who knows nothing about football because I never played, and saltveits cum tastes like matza

    1. I would never let a bitch talk to me in a disrespectful manner !!!! no comment, next question….. I never had a positive male influence in my life!!! no comment, next question…. I was raised to believe that its ok to smack a bitch if she mouths off!!!! no comment, next question…… men who went to jail were revered in my neighborhood !!!!no comment, next question!

  10. This was one of Bradford’s better performances. If I were to write this, I would discuss what lost them the game. Dropped passes, running Murray outside instead of an I formation, and Kendricks, Maxwell, and Thurmond.

    If you complete all of the dropped passes on this season, Bradford would have 3 less interceptions, over 68% pass completion, and the result of these games would be different.

    Murray is a N/S runner standing offset from his Qb, and trying to get around a corner that isn’t there. Put him behind Bradford, bring celek in motion to a FB position, and run that man like he was born to run. Downhill!

    Maclin was key to the success in the air last season. Matthews is a great wr2, he never had the shutdown corners, and Maclin drew double coverage opening Matthews got open catches with space to run. Cooper has been helpful, but defenses are not afraid of these WRs. The worst part is that at the start of the season, there was more than enough money in the cap to afford Maclin.

    Bradford could be great, but he left the Rams for a “better situation” and is still getting hit. The o-line isn’t protecting him, he should be following his progression, but he’s looking over his shoulder instead. He looks scared, and he kind of should be. He turned down a multiyear contract to build value, and now he could be a backup soon, or worse. He’s made mistakes, he could/should play better, but this season is not his fault.

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