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Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Vikings game - Philly Voice
4) The Big Balls Doug Award: Doug Pederson
After the Eagles' first touchdown, the Eagles lined up to kick the PAT, which they made, except the Vikings were called for a penalty on the play. Rather than just keep the point, Pederson opted to take the point off the board and go for two, which they made.
"It's kind of a no-brainer, because you get the ball at the one, half the distance from (the two)," said Pederson.
That's not the most eloquent explanation, but it works for me. Pederson was then told that many other coaches don't necessarily view that as a no-brainer call.
"I've got a lot of trust in our guys, and if you don't work those situations in practice and talk about those situations, negative things can happen," he said. "But I just felt totally 100% confident in our guys to execute that play."
Pederson's next gamble helped the team add points in a low-scoring game, too. With 1 minute, 21 seconds to play and the ball on Minnesota's 44-yard line, the Eagles faced a 4th-and-1. They could've punted, pinned the Vikings deep in their own territory and entered halftime with a healthy 8-3 lead.
But Pederson again sent the offense out and called a read-pass option for Wentz. The rookie quarterback bobbled the snap before gathering himself and running around the left end for a 6-yard gain that extended the drive, which later ended with Sturgis nailing a short, 35-yard field goal.
"It was kind of, again, a no-brainer, almost like the two-point conversion," Pederson said. "I had it in my mind at that point that I was going to go for it, and we were just right at midfield, really just had crossed it. I felt comfortable with the play-call, and, again, put it in our quarterback's hands. For me, it was an easy situation."
10 Things We Learned From Philadelphia’s Win - Philly Mag
4 – Rodney McLeod deserves Player of the Game
McLeod deserves the game ball this week after a great performance. The 26-year-old safety finished with seven tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one interception, and one pass defensed. He came up big in big moments. McLeod now leads all NFL safeties this season in interceptions with three. That’s a career-high for him.
McLeod was hardly the only Eagles defender who played well on Sunday. Jordan Hicks was fantastic. The second-year linebacker led the team in tackles with 11. He also had one sack, three tackles for loss, two passes defensed, one quarterback hit. Hicks is a beast.
Last, but not least, Brandon Graham deserves a ton of credit as well. Graham was the one who created pressure on McLeod’s interception. He only had one sack, which was a strip-sack, but he hit Bradford five times and forced the Vikings quarterback into back throws. Graham has had a very good season. The scheme change has really helped him.
Kudos to Connor Barwin as well for coming up with a strip-sack after the talk this week was that Schwartz was looking to decrease his playing time.
Former Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford was treated harshly in his return to Lincoln Financial Field. Heavy boos rained down on him as he took the field for the first time. What followed probably hurt Bradford a lot worse, as the Eagles' defense clobbered him for the next 60 minutes, taking advantage of a decimated offensive line. He was sacked six times and hit 11 -- four times by defensive end Brandon Graham -- and put forth his worst performance of the season. Bradford, who did not commit a single turnover and led the league in completion percentage entering Sunday's game, finished 24-of-41 with an interception and two lost fumbles.
"We had a little fun. I was out there talking," said Graham, who registered his fourth sack of the season. "We knew Sam don't like to get hit, and we tried to hit him within the rules as much as we could. I think it kind of got to him a little bit."
"I thought he missed some throws today that he normally makes," added Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer. "He got hit a lot, so it's hard to evaluate his performance when we looked like a sieve in there."
Bradford’s blockers will receive most of the blame for Bradford’s first poor game in purple, and they should. But Bradford did little to help.
He missed open receivers and showed poor pocket awareness. He looked spooked even when there were no ghosts. From the second half of the victory in Carolina up until kickoff on Sunday, Bradford had managed pressure well, beating blitzes with quick passes and decisions.
Whatever his previous reputation, Bradford has proved in Minnesota that he is willing to take a hit while making a play. Sunday, he was too willing to take a hit while putting the ball at risk. He fumbled four times, lost two and threw one interception.