Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford saw his first game action in a year on Saturday when he faced the Ravens, and it didn’t take long for Bradford to receive a brutal hit to his surgically repaired knee.
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs was penalized for hitting Bradford in the knee, and afterward the Eagles ripped him for it.
“He hit him low and tried to hit him around his knees,” Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said. “He’s that type of player who is dirty and will take shots on the quarterback. . . . He’s trying to take a cheap shot at the quarterback. I’m pretty sure he planned it. We practiced against them all week. I’m pretty sure he was thinking about it.”
Bradford confirmed that he thought Suggs was intentionally going at his injured knee, and he had words with Suggs about it.
“I was a little upset,” Bradford said. “I’m not sure I could probably repeat what I said to him. But it’s part of the game and I’m sure it’s not the last time that something like that’s going to happen this year. But hopefully it doesn’t.”
Suggs, however, says the Eagles’ use of the read-option means that the quarterback is a runner and can be hit like a runner.
“When you run the read-option, you have to know the rules,” Suggs said. “If you want to run the read-option with your starting quarterback that’s had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. That’s not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could’ve hit him harder on that. I didn’t. I eased up.”
Suggs is right that quarterbacks can be hit like runners when they’re running the ball on read-option plays, and the penalty was confusing because the referee announced the penalty as “roughing the passer” even though it wasn’t on a passing play — Suggs hit Bradford after Bradford handed off to Darren Sproles. Roughing the passer was clearly the wrong call, but Suggs still could have been flagged for unnecessary roughness. The league office will likely have more to say about the hit this week.