Eagles

Brandon Graham's forced fumble 'took the life out' of the Bills

Brandon Graham's forced fumble 'took the life out' of the Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Stop me if this sounds familiar: Brandon Graham came up with a huge forced fumble for the Eagles on Sunday. 

OK, this one wasn’t in the Super Bowl, but it was a pretty important situation in the 2019 season. 

With 2:00 left in the first half of the Eagles’ 31-13 win over the Bills, Graham knocked the ball out of Josh Allen’s hand on a QB keeper and then he recovered the fumble too. 

“It was big. It was really big for us,” Fletcher Cox said. “We always talk about when we have a running quarterback, when they try to run the ball, just try to get it out. It was a tempo-setter. That just kind of took the life out of them early in the game.”

At the time of that forced fumble, the Bills had a 7-3 lead and were probably going to go into halftime with that lead because the Eagles’ offense had struggled to get anything going. But this turnover gave Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense the ball on the Bills’ 24-yard line. Five plays later, Wentz hit Dallas Goedert for a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a lead they didn’t lose again. 

Graham’s play was the turning point of the game and maybe the season. 

“That was huge,” Wentz said. “Any time the defense can create a turnover, that’s huge. And then obviously for us to take advantage of the good field position, to take advantage of the momentum, that’s really what we try and do every time we step on the field. We try and control the ball offensively, but when the defense can create a turnover, we've got to capitalize, and we were able to do that today.”

On the strip, Graham said the Bills checked to that QB keeper and he heard Nathan Gerry yell, “Power! Power!” So Graham just came across the face of his blocker and got his hand on the ball to knock it out. 

While Graham certainly understood the importance of the play, he said he really didn’t do anything too special. 

“I just poked at the ball,” he said. “That’s all I really did.”

Graham finished Sunday’s game tied for a team-high six tackles, one sack, two TFLs, and the forced fumble and fumble recovery. Through eight games, Graham has five sacks. After a slow start to his 2019 season, Graham is now on pace for his first-career 10-sack season. 

A big reason the Eagles won on Sunday was because their best players played well. That included Graham and Cox, who has also started to come on really strong in recent weeks. Cox had 1½ sacks on Sunday and now has 2½ in his last two games after getting shut out in the first six weeks of the season. Cox’s sack in the first quarter was a strip sack, but the Bills recovered.

Graham made sure he was able to fall on the ball after his own forced fumble and it became the biggest play of the game and of the season to date.  

“We got that one,” Graham said, “and didn’t look back after that.”

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson is officially in offseason mode, and he kicked off Pro Bowl week - which he's now officially part of - by showing up on former teammate Chris Long's podcast and shooting the breeze for an hour.

The duo bantered about plenty, from dealing with failure and ego as football players, to Johnson's time as a grave digger. About halfway through, Johnson offered up a seldom-heard explanation for his hairstyle, or lackthereof.

Johnson, of course, famously keeps his hair short (read: nonexistent) on top, and keeps his beard long. He explained to Long that it took some serious self-reflection, and a couple rough games early in his rookie season, to officially start shaving his head:

I was in college, it was my senior year, and my friend goes, 'Bro, are you f***ing losing your hair?' I said, what are you talking about? Then I went to the mirror, and I'd clearly been in denial for some time. I said, 'Bro, this s*** is terrible.' 

So I played with it my senior year, it was bad. I'd comb it over, wear my hats, feather it out in the back, try to look cool. Then I got to the Eagles, and after getting bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney and giving up three sacks to Justin Houston, I just shaved that s*** off. I've been a different man ever since.

The Eagles, you might remember, lost in Week 2 that year to Freeney's Chargers, and then lost in Week 3 to Houston's Chiefs, to fall to 1-3. They went 9-3 the rest of the way, a startling and fun turnaround. I'm not saying it's all thanks to Johnson shaving his head... but maybe?

That's about as good a reason as I can think of to make a hairstyle change. Johnson has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL since he started shaving his head, so maybe he's on to something. He spends very little time focusing on his hair, and plenty of time focusing on his game.

When you go back and look at Johnson with hair, it's... extremely jarring:

Johnson is basically unrecognizable in that video. He looks like a child! Thank goodness for Freeney and Houston shellacking Johnson as a rookie, or he might still be clinging to that brutal hairdo.

Maybe Johnson should've floated this idea to the Eagles' coaching staff years ago. Who knows what a haircut could've done for Nelson Agholor?

You can listen to, and watch, the full conversation between Johnson and Long below:

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