For all its numerical imperfections, Sam Bradford's rookie season has, to date, been an unalloyed good thing for St. Louis Rams fans. But as the team hits .500 — and has a chance at staying there — I expect his performance to come under a little more scrutiny, now that it's no longer incredibly exciting he's just lined up back there.â†µ
With that in mind, it's interesting that his best and worst games of the season have come in the last two weeks. Last week, against San Diego, Bradford found nearly every receiving option the Rams could throw at him, and he did it while avoiding an interception for the first game of the season. The week before, in the Rams' debilitating loss against the Detroit Lions, Bradford was forced to throw the ball a lot, and didn't respond as well as he did in his week one debut; he ended up 23 of 45 with two interceptions and just 4.8 yards per attempt.â†µ
I've been hammering this point home all season, but it's incredible how much more the Rams are reliant on Bradford than, say, the Jets were on Mark Sanchez last season. Bradford's already thrown more passes in a single game than Sanchez managed three times, and he's never once made fewer attempts than Sanchez (24.8) averaged. He's about three games away from throwing more passes than Sanchez did in 15 games.â†µ
Bradford is getting thrown into the fire like a disaster-team's number-one pick — like Matthew Stafford or David Carr — and he's playing as effectively as the ones teams can afford to hide. He's going to struggle — badly, at times — but he's in a position where most quarterbacks of his caliber have struggled far worse.