Eagles' Bradford poised for a strong 2nd half of the season
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Sam Bradford has caught up to the rest of his teammates.
Bradford spent several months in the offseason and the first half learning Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense. After some growing pains, he has it down.
When the Philadelphia Eagles needed him most, Bradford delivered. He had his best game Sunday night at Dallas and his 41-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews in overtime might have saved Philadelphia's season.
The Eagles (4-4) are a half-game behind the Giants in the NFC East standings and already beat New York handily last month.
''Sam got here in year three so there's a lot of catching up for him along with training his injury, so that's why I think you'll see him having a better second half,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Tuesday.
Kelly compared Bradford's progression to arriving halfway through a movie and trying to figure out what happened in the beginning while everyone in the audience already saw it.
''He hasn't been with us for the amount of time that some of the other guys have,'' Kelly said.
''It's something you have to get through reps; it's not something that can be forced. He works extremely hard at it. He's in this building all the time, watching film, studying, working at it. We've seen constant improvement out of Sam. I hope it continues and he'll continue to play even better as we move forward.''
Bradford completed 25 of 36 passes for 295 yards and one TD with no interceptions against the Cowboys. His passer rating was 103.4. The only other time this season it was over 100 was in a loss at Washington when he had three TD passes and no picks.
Overall, Bradford has 2,061 yards passing, a career-high 62.9 completion rate, 10 TDs and 10 interceptions. His passer rating (79.5) is fifth-worst in the NFL, though it's higher than Peyton Manning (75.6) and Andrew Luck (74.9).
But coaches say the poor stats are a product of him getting acclimated to a new offense while also recovering from two operations on his left ACL that sidelined him since October 2013.
''I've seen Sam improve on a weekly basis here,'' Kelly said. ''We're in game eight. He's better in game eight than he was in game one. I think he's more comfortable in terms of what we're doing.''
Bradford had the offense moving in the second half against the Cowboys. He led the Eagles to scores on four of their last five drives, including the TD pass to Matthews in OT.
''We played fast, we played the way we wanted to play, and it made a difference,'' Bradford said.
NOTES: LB DeMeco Ryans practiced, but said he didn't do much. Ryans has missed the past two games because of a hamstring injury. ... WR Nelson Agholor (ankle) and WR Riley Cooper (foot) also practiced. Agholor hasn't played since Oct. 11. He practiced in full last week, but didn't play vs. Dallas. ... Seven-time Pro Bowl LT Jason Peters (back) didn't practice.
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