James Bradberry

‘I just didn't play well:' Bradberry at center of Eagles' defensive collapse

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If you can‘t stop a backup quarterback from leading a 92-yard game-winning touchdown drive with under two minutes left, who exactly can you stop?

The answer for the Eagles lately is nobody.

The Seahawks hadn’t put together a game-winning drive of at least 90 yards in the final two minutes of a game since Russell Wilson was their quarterback back in 2020.

The Eagles hadn’t allowed a game-winning drive of at least 90 yards in the final two minutes since 2007 against the Bears and Brian Griese.

But here we are.

For 58 minutes, the Eagles’ defense was very good in Matt Patricia’s first game as de facto defensive coordinator. They tackled, they covered, they hit. They held the Seahawks to 13 points, 205 yards and 4-for-12 on third down on their first eight drives. 

Not bad at all.

Then, disaster.

Drew Lock – Drew Lock, for crying out loud – drove the Seahawks 92 yards in 10 plays over the final 1:52, handing the spiraling Eagles a 20-17 loss at Lumen Field in Seattle.

Lock threw for 208 yards – 44 percent of them in the final two minutes.

The Seahawks netted 292 yards – 31 percent of them in the final two minutes.

The Seahawks had two plays of 25 yards or more – both in the final two minutes.

The Eagles’ defense simply stopped playing. And in the NFL two horrible minutes of football can easily wipe out 58 very good minutes. And now the Eagles have lost three straight and dropped from 10-1 and atop the football world to 10-4 and coming off three straight gruesome losses.

The three crushing plays on the Seahawks' final drive were all Lock completions to D.K. Metcalf with 2022 all-pro James Bradberry in coverage.

Eighteen yards to get the Seahawks out of the soup and out to the 26-yard-line, 34 yards down to the Eagles’ 29 on a 3rd-and-10 with 40 seconds left and 29 yards for a TD with 28 seconds left.


“Very frustrating,” Bradberry said. “I’ve got to play better. I just didn‘t play well today.”

Asked if he were expecting safety help on the touchdown, Bradberry said no.

“I was just playing the sticks,” he said. “We were in man.”

Asked what he could have done differently, he thought for a moment and said: “Nothing, really. He just ran past me because I was sitting at the sticks.”

Heavily implied was that the play call called for him to sit at the sticks, which allowed Metcalf to race past him.

“We did pretty good,” Bradberry said. “I just didn’t play well today.” 

The final drive capped a comeback from 10 points down by a team that had lost four straight games with its backup quarterback.

This wasn’t Brock Purdy and the 49ers. It wasn’t Dak Prescott and the Cowboys. It was Drew Lock, who had lost seven straight starts going back to December of 2020.

“Felt like we did a lot of good things in this game,” Kevin Byard said. “Didn’t tackle particularly well. It’s just the two-minute drill, situational football, we’ve got to be better there. 

“Obviously, we had a really good first half. Did some good things, but we just didn’t play well in the most crucial situations, which is at the end of the game. We weren’t good at the end of the game.”

Last time the Eagles got beat on a go-ahead touchdown in the final 30 seconds of a game was vs. Washington at FedEx Field in October 2015 on Kirk Cousins’ 4-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon with 26 seconds left. 

Last time they got beat in the final 30 seconds on a TD of at least 20 yards was at the Vet in 2001 on Jake Plummer’s 35-yard 4th-down TD to MarTay Jenkins with 17 seconds left.

“They made some plays, and we didn’t,” Fletcher Cox said. “That’s how football goes. It was just one of those games. Now it's three games in a row. It's still the same stuff. We didn't close the game. We didn't do a good enough job on defense. Obviously we didn't do a good enough job as a team, and I think the biggest thing is we have to focus on us. We have to stay together. It's been a rough three weeks for this team. 

“Just like all good teams, they face a little adversity, no matter how good they are. I still feel like we’re a really good team, but we’re facing a lot of adversity. We’re running out of chances right now. We’re in the playoffs, but we’re looking at the bigger picture.”

The Eagles finish the regular season against the Giants, Cards and Giants and incredibly, despite everything, if they win all three, they’ll win the NFC East.

But at the moment it's fair to wonder if they can beat anybody.

“We’ve got to win a game,” Cox said. “We’ve got to get that feeling back. We haven’t had that feeling. I’m sick right now.”

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