Sam Bradford's Progress A Plus Heading Into Denver Broncos Matchup

The St. Louis Rams' offense has been far from pretty year-to-date—they're 28th in football in points scored, and 24th in total passing yards despite being eighth in the NFL in attempts. But for all that, watching Sam Bradford's progress in the NFL on a game-to-game, month-to-month basis has been one of the most exciting parts of the Rams' 2010 season. Now, with Bradford set to face a struggling Denver Broncos defense in a must-win road game, it's time to see if all that progress can be harnessed.

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Bradford's September—69-for-117, 655 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions—was competent. His October—102-for-175, 1019 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions—was good enough to get him named Offensive Rookie of the Month. In two November starts he's been 57-for-84 for 484 yards for a completion percentage of 67.9. 

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What it'll be important to see in this last November start and December is the last progress he needs to make—a little downfield passing. Bradford ranks at the bottom of the league in yards per attempt, and once that's adjusted for interceptions he only jumps ahead of Brett Favre and the Carolina Panthers' duo. He's the only quarterback in football whose average completion is for fewer than 10 yards. If you want to know why all those third- and fourth-quarter drives seem to stagnate and force Donnie Jones to punt, once more, for a worn-out defense, that's what's doing it. 

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In October he proved he could limit the interceptions. In November he's taken on an increased workload and become more accurate. In December he'll need to find something that approximates a downfield threat on this team. Maybe if Mardy Gilyard learns the playbook.

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