A week after rookie quarterback Sam Bradford went just 13-for-26 in a heartbreaking loss to the San Diego Chargers, the St. Louis Rams appear to have found a solution to his accuracy problem: Don’t let him thrown downfield, ever. Despite losing Danario Alexander, Bradford’s now an impressive 18-for-22 with an unimpressive 102 yards through the first half of the team’s home contest with the Carolina Panthers.
With Donnie Avery, Mark Clayton, and Danario Alexander all sidelined, Bradford has hit five different receivers for at least two receptions—Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola lead the way with four and five, respectively. Steven Jackson, questionable all this week after a finger surgery on Monday, has struggled; his line stands at 12 carries for 37 yards, including a long of 14.
But the Rams’ short game has been so effective that the Panthers’ offense could barely take the field for much of the first half. They ended up with just eight minutes of possession time through the first half, including a blazing last drive that saw them cover 43 yards in 1:30. The Rams have completely neutralized their running game—the Panthers’ total rushing yards stand at -5—but quarterback Matt Moore, who took over last week from rookie Jimmy Clausen, has made the most of his second start in a row, going 8-for-11 with 64 yards and an early interception.
The Rams will be hard-pressed to smother the Panthers’ offense as effectively again as they did in the first half, but if Sam Bradford continues to complete 80% of his passes, or Steven Jackson emerges as a force like he’s been for three weeks now, they won’t need to. For now, the score stands at 10-3, Rams.