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RamView: Week 4 – Quarterback

Sam Bradford’s (23-41-289) day was pretty much a roller-coaster ride, but the rookie’s clearly got the stomach for it, his game’s got more ups than downs, and besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good thrill ride? Clank, clank, clank, up we go in the 1st, as Bradford hits Mark Clayton to convert a 3rd-and-6, then hits him again for 34 with one of those underthrown corner route type of passes those two are hitting on pretty regularly now. It’s a play that confuses me, though, because Clayton definitely had a step on Marcus Trufant, and a seemingly much-simpler deep pass that leads him would have been an easy TD. Wheee! Clank, clank, clank… Bradford gets the TD anyway, ripping a throw to Brandon Gibson in pretty tight double-coverage. Sam had some pretty wild throws in warmups, and worked through some accuracy problems early – wheee! – but got settled down – clank, clank – at least until after Bradley Fletcher’s interception late in the 2nd. Bradford followed that with the dumbest mistake of his young career, forcing a pass for Clayton in the back of the end zone without seeing fellow rookie Earl Thomas, who collected a pretty easy INT for what looked like a tide-turning play. Wheee! Bradford had several better options on that play, not the least of which was Daniel Fells wide open at the goal line pretty much right in front of him. Oh well, he’s a rookie, and a good one; we’ll live with that. Plus the ride, clank, clank, clank, trended upward after that. Bradford still got the Rams a FG before halftime. In the 2nd half, he and the Rams began screening the Seahawk blitz to death, with a 49-yarder to Steven Jackson, followed by a 21-yarder to Kenneth Darby for the TD and a big 17-3 lead. And this is where we see that Sam Bradford is already better than Marc Bulger (which may already be a “duh” conclusion to many). Bradford’s feet are 100 times better. He can throw accurate screen passes while on a dead backpedal. With his cement feet, Bulger would have been sacked twice on the two screens Bradford got 70 yards and a TD out of. Bradford throws well on the roll, which really opens up the possibilities for this offense. Bulger can barely even roll. Bradford scrambled out of trouble a couple of times, the latest addition to his rookie repertoire. Bulger, yeah, not a scrambler. Maybe Marc wouldn’t have thrown that end zone pick in the 2nd, but I’m finding little fault otherwise with Bradford’s blitz recognition and field-reading. Three of the four sacks he took were missed blitz pickups that were on him right away, and he probably ate the ball on the last, weird 4th-and-goal pass play to avoid a possible worse outcome with a blind throw. Bulger’s a deadly accurate thrower, but Bradford’s TD pass to Gibson and late sideline passes to Gibson and Clayton were dead perfect. The sideline passes were only going to be caught by a Ram. I respect Marc Bulger a lot, always will, but it’s great to see the new QB already making plays the old QB couldn’t make and beating teams the old QB hadn’t beaten for a long time. And that’ll be the last Marc Bulger comparison for a while, because Sam Bradford is already well on his way to surpassing him. It’ll be a roller coaster ride for a little while, but mostly upward, and the clanking will be replaced by the calm chiming of a smooth elevator ride to the top.

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