GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 06: Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams walks out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sam Bradford showed cause for optimism for the St. Louis Rams and fantasy football owners in the Rams' Week 9 heartbreaker to the Arizona Cardinals.
Especially patient fantasy football owners saw a promising return from Sam Bradford in his first game back after missing two with a high ankle sprain; despite continuing the Rams' touchdown drought, he went 23-for-36 for 255 yards, operating mostly out of the shotgun. Steven Jackson's 130 yards on the ground certainly helped, but the major difference, as expected, was Brandon Lloyd, who'd starred in his first appearances with the Rams even with A.J. Feeley lining up under center.
Lloyd's ability to work within Josh McDaniels's system—and excel there—has been its own reward. But similarly impressive gains have come from the Rams' other wide receivers, now that they've been demoted to lesser cornerbacks—Brandon Gibson caught four balls for 49 yards as the Rams' second receiver—the place he was supposed to be before Mike Sims-Walker cratered—and Greg Salas excelled in the slot role, turning in a perfectly Danny Amendola performance of seven receptions for 59 yards before leaving with an unpleasant-looking leg injury and being replaced by an equally competent Austin Pettis.
The Rams still need to find the end zone more frequently, but Bradford—still nursing his bad ankle—showed that with Brandon Lloyd, he could at least chew up the yards across midfield.