Sunday night was about celebrating a quarterback, but Sunday afternoon was about celebrating over a quarterback.
That’s what Carolina safety Mike Mitchell did at least, after dragging down Sam Bradford from behind as the St. Louis quarterback ran out of bounds.
As Bradford lay in a crumpled heap, rolling back and forth with a knee injury, a seemingly oblivious Mitchell threw his head back and arms out and yelled in celebration.
The Bradford injury was an ugly scene on an ugly day for quarterbacks. Bradford, who was carted off to the locker room in the 30-15 defeat, was scheduled to have an MRI exam when the Rams landed in St. Louis.
He wasn’t the only quarterback injured Sunday. Chicago’s Jay Cutler suffered a groin injury when he was sacked in the second quarter against Washington, the team-record 158th time he was sacked since coming to the Bears in 2009.
The Bears, with Josh McCown at quarterback, would lose, 45-41, when Roy Helu scored from three yards out — his third touchdown of the day — with 49 seconds to play.
McCown, who hadn’t played since the 2011 season, did a solid job. The Bears had 46 yards of offense in the first half — all but three snaps of it with Cutler — and 313 in the second.
“I didn’t ask him what he liked, what he didn’t like,” Bears Coach Marc Trestman said of McCown. “I just called the plays according to the plan we had put together. I thought he functioned very well in the offense.”
In the battle for first place in the NFC East, Philadelphia’s Nick Foles left the game at the end of the third quarter with a possible concussion. He was sandwiched by Dallas defenders Jarius Wynn and George Selvie, and groggily walked off the field for an evaluation.
That opened the door for rookie quarterback Matt Barkley to make his NFL debut, and it was a rough one. The former USC standout, who entered with 9 minutes, 25 seconds left and the Eagles offense doing absolutely nothing, saw his second pass picked off over the middle and nearly returned for a touchdown.
That near-pick-six — avoided when Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter was pushed out bounds at the 7 — was nullified by a defensive offsides call. Five passes later, Barkley was intercepted for a second time. The Eagles’ next two possessions ended in interceptions too as Philadelphia sputtered to a 17-3 loss.
In between, Barkley had some good-looking completions, but the mistakes ensured the Eagles wouldn’t be making any kind of dramatic comeback in a game in which their offense barely registered a pulse.
“I was maybe a little too aggressive on some of those throws, trying to advance the ball down the field and help our team win,” Barkley said. “I learned a lot today. I’ll learn even more watching the tape.”
With Vick recovering from a hamstring injury, and Foles’ status up in the air, it’s unclear who will start Sunday at home against the New York Giants.
The Eagles have lost a franchise-worst nine in a row at home, with their last such victory coming Sept. 30, 2012, against the Giants.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, picked up their first road win of the season and are 3-0 in the NFC East for the first time since 2007.
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