The St. Louis Rams’ offense was driving the ball well, but all that stopped in an instant—Sam Bradford fumbled and Juqua Parker returned it for a touchdown to silence the Edward Jones Dome faithful and put the Eagles up 14-7 with four minutes left in the first quarter.
The Rams’ offense has been defined primarily by the run in the first quarter, a surprise given Josh McDaniels’s reputation—Steven Jackson ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on the first offensive drive of the season, and Cadillac Williams had five early rushes for 34 yards on that ill-fated drive. Bradford was 2-for-2 with a five yards in the early going, a result strongly and surprisingly reminiscent of his rookie season in Pat Shurmur’s offense.
The Eagles’ defense was infamously rebuilt during the NFL Lockout-shortened offseason prior to 2011, after allowing an ugly 31 passing touchdowns in 2010. Free agency and trades have turned a weakness into one of the team’s most conspicuous strengths in preseason analysis.