The Philadelphia Eagles now have the chance to hire Gus Bradley, with the Seattle Seahawks out of the playoffs on Jan. 13. Yet it looked like the Eagles would have to wait for another week, after the Seahawks made a miraculous rally over the Atlanta Falcons. However, Bradley’s defense couldn’t finish the job, which has to give Philadelphia pause.
The Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL in the regular season, although the Falcons still ran all over Bradley’s unit in the first three quarters. But Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense erased a 27-7 fourth quarter deficit to take a 28-27 lead with 25 seconds to go. All the defense needed was one stop to secure an NFC title game berth, against a choking Falcons team that looked ready to flame out of the playoffs once again.
Yet when the Seahawks really needed their defense, it didn’t deliver, as Matt Ryan completed two quick passes to set up a Matt Bryant 49-yard field goal. All of a sudden, Seattle went from pulling off one of the great comebacks in postseason history to losing by 30-28 anyway.
Other than multiple failed red zone opportunities late in the first half, the primary reason Seattle lost was because Bradley’s defense didn’t perform like usual. In fact, it almost acted like the 2011 and 2012 Eagles by blowing a lead in stunning, quick fashion.
Before this loss, Bradley appeared to be the new frontrunner for the Eagles’ head coaching job, especially after meeting with them on Jan. 12. With the Seahawks eliminated, the Eagles can now easily hire Bradley if they still want to. But after the way Seattle lost, and the way its supposedly powerful defense came up short when it really counted, is Bradley really Philadelphia’s ideal candidate?
The Eagles must decide if one awful loss outweighs the 17 games of solid work Bradley did beforehand. And they may need to decide quickly, since Bradley is also set to interview with the San Diego Chargers and two other teams, according to FOX Sports’ Thom Brenaman on Jan. 13.
Bradley didn’t make the best closing statement for himself. Yet if he did, he wouldn’t be available at all right now and the Seahawks would be well on their way to the NFC championship game. Now that he isn’t, it has to be a mixed blessing for the Eagles.