October 19, 2016
Teddy Bridgewater’s leg injury completely changed the course of the 2016 Eagles season. Sam Bradford was shipped out of town, Carson Wentz got the call on one week’s notice, Wentz has started out playing well and showing tons of promise, and the Eagles got a first-round pick back to boot.
Just a few months ago, Bradford’s brief holdout was the topic du jour on WIP. On Sunday, he comes into town as an MVP candidate for another team. Life comes at you fast.
Bradford is playing mistake-free football at its finest, and Rick Spielman’s decision to aggressively target him is looking better and better with each passing week. Spielman was correct that the undefeated Vikings are ready to win, and they now look every bit like a Super Bowl contender. And Bradford looks every bit like Bridgewater:
Bradford, who only quarterbacked the Eagles for one forgettable season, will never be considered a major part of the team’s history. But taking the circumstances of the trade and Bradford’s strange summer next to Wentz into account, Sammy Sleeves’ return to Philly comes with plenty of hype.
The good news is the Eagles have generally fared pretty well over the years in these hyped games, when an important returning player comes back to a play in South Philly for the first time since leaving the nest. Here are a few examples:
LeSean McCoy (Bills) — December 13, 2015 — 23-20 win
Desean Jackson (Washington) — September 21, 2014 — 37-34 win
Donovan McNabb (Washington) — October 3, 2010 — 17-12 loss
Brian Dawkins (Broncos) — December 27, 2009 — 30-27 win
Terrell Owens (Cowboys) — October 8, 2006 — 38-24 win
Jeremiah Trotter (Washington) — October 5, 2003 — 27-25 win
Eric Allen (Raiders) — October 28, 2001 — 20-10 loss
Randall Cunningham (Cowboys) — November 5, 2010 — 16-13 win
Buddy Ryan, Seth Joyner, Clyde Simmons (Cardinals) — November 6, 1994 — 17-7 win
Reggie White (Packers) — September 18, 1994 — 13-7 win
Recent-ish history seems to be on the Eagles’ side. Then again, history might not matter when a rookie fifth-round pick has to block one of the league’s best defensive fronts.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann