The St. Louis Rams lost again Sunday afternoon, falling by a score of 23-20 to the Arizona Cardinals and continuing a bruising season that’s seen every last iota of optimism squeezed out of 2010’s surprising 7-9 run, but for the first time since Sam Bradford’s high ankle sprain sidelined him in mid-collapse there was cause for something other than panic about the Rams’ struggling franchise quarterback. In spite of an offensive line that’s missing its highly touted young anchors and a wide receiving corps that continues to drop passes like they’re campaigning to get the NFL to track them officially, Bradford had his best game since his Week 5 performance at Green Bay.
Capped off with a fourth-quarter touchdown to Brandon Lloyd, Bradford was 17-for-31 with 203 yards, averaging 6.55 yards per attempt and avoiding interception for the first time in almost two months.
That’s not future-of-the-franchise material, but for a guy who leads the league in sacks taken and is unlikely to get any more protection for the rest of the season it’s good news. For all his apparent troubles to date, Bradford’s yards per attempt in 2011 is actually fractionally higher now than it was in 2010, when he had a strange season propped up by Pat Shurmur’s conservative offense.