Sam Bradford’s St. Louis Rams lost for their second game of the season, 28-16 against the Giants, thanks in large part to the stifling defense of the G-men putting consistent pressure on the young QB. Bradford is being asked to shoulder more then the usual amount of responsibility for a second-year quarterback, thanks in large part to running back Stephen Jackson’s absence due to a quadricep injury he sustained in week one. Bradford dropped back to pass 49 times in the Monday Night Football matchup and was harried by the Giants defensive for roughly 30% of those passes. So far in his young career, Bradford has had trouble dealing with pressure, not uncommon in young (and even veteran) quarterbacks.
The bright side of last night’s game for Bradford is he threw for 331 yards, no paltry sum, and a TD. The Rams were very much in this game, and lost mainly due to their own mistakes, one of which involved Bradford throwing a halfback screen to running back Cadillac Williams that actually went backwards, turning it from a pass into a lateral, and from a one point game into an eight point game when linebacker Michael Boley picked it up and ran 65-yards the other way for a TD. The Giants went up 14-6.
This is not all doom and gloom for Bradford and the Rams. They’re making lots of mistakes right now, which is actually better then simply being overmatched and blown away by teams. They settled for three field goals inside the red zone, stalling inside the Giants 10 all three times. Consider that one of these red zone debacles ended after they started with a first-and-goal on the one yard line. They also turned the ball over twice, and had eight penalties totaling 85-yards, giving the Giants four first downs in the process.
This is all to say that this season, thus far, has been something of a crucible for Bradford. He’s learning things the hard way, which is at game speed on the field. Many highly touted college quarterbacks (like Superbowl MVP Aaron Rodgers) get years on the bench to learn the craft from veterans ahead of them on the depth chart. Certainly, Bradford’s status as the first player selected in the 2010 NFL draft forces the Rams’ hand a little in getting him onto the field, but from his better-then-solid rookie season to his rough, but not terrible, start to his second year, there is still much to be hopeful for, and excited about, if you’re a Bradford and St. Louis Rams fan.
Bradford will get a chance to learn even more next week…the Rams play the Baltimore Ravens, not known for treating opposing quarterbacks well.