By Art Beitchman

If the Eagles’ 45-17 humiliating loss to the Bucs on Sunday taught us anything, it is how desperately the Birds need to get Sam Bradford (above) back at QB and Ryan Mathews in the backfield for one final push to win a playoff spot.

And it was heartening to see that Bradford participated in Monday’s practice, had a helmet on and was taking snaps among other individual drills.

The playoffs are still within reach, and that push starts on Thursday afternoon versus the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, 12:30pm/Fox.

Eagles back up QB Mark Sanchez got his first start of the season, due to Bradford’s concussion suffered in the Dolphins game. Sanchez marched the Birds down the field on an 86 yard, 7 play drive that culminated into a 39 yard TD strike to Josh Huff, not bad.

Then the wheels fell off.

Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis and company didn’t do much of a job game planning for the Bucaneers running game, specifically Doug Martin. They got an up close and personnel exhibition by Martin, running for 235 yards on 27 carries, good for 23rd best in NFL history! He ran through, over, and around Eagle defenders all afternoon for his 2nd best running performance, his best was tied for 10th in NFL history three years ago versus the Raiders for 251 yards!

The Birds should have keyed on Martin, but did not as the Bucs pole-axed the Eagles 45-17, leaving the season in crisis mode going into Detroit Thanksgiving Day to face the Lions in a win or bust game.

Sanchez finished the game with 261 yards passing, and three interceptions, his calling card. On the other side of the coin, Jameis Winston, playing in only his 10th NFL game, lit up the Birds like a Christmas tree all afternoon, throwing for 246 yards on 29 attempts with 5 TD’s! QB rating of 131.6, unreal!!

Amazingly, at 4-6 with 6 games remaining, the Birds are still in the thick of a weak NFC East division race, but time is running out with stiffer competition ahead.



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