Sam Bradford led off the game for the Steven Jackson-less first team offense against the Baltimore Ravens 2nd team defense and his performance was nothing less than perfect. Bradford led the Rams to a touchdown by going 6-6 for 68 yards and a TD pass to Billy Bajema.
Then as the rest of the first team offense left the field so did Sam Bradford. It would be hard to consider Bradford’s audition for starting quarterback anything less than a success. Just like the Rams selecting Sam Bradford with the 1st overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft was the worst kept secret at Rams Park, the fact that Sam Bradford will be starting week 1 for the St. Louis Rams becomes more obvious every time Sam Bradford takes the field. Sam Bradford got treated like a starter and pulled with the rest of the first team; it will not be too long until he is also named the starter.
Other than Sam Bradford, there were a few highlights for the Rams in a 2nd and 3rd string game.
George Selvie made a great play on the final play of the first half, knocking the pass from Troy Smith up in the air before he could release the ball allowing Chris Chamberlain to intercept the pass. Chamberlain would have run for a touchdown if he was not caught from behind by the Ravens running back.
Jermelle Cudjo had a great knockdown on Ravens QB Troy Smith as he went airborne to get over and past the running back that was attempting to block him.
Brandon McRae caught a quick smoke screen pass from Thaddeus Lewis in the 4th quarter to put the Rams up for good. McRae made a great run after the catch, but it was only a touchdown because of the impressive block by fellow wide receiver Dominique Curry.
The story of the night was the continued development of Sam Bradford and the ease in which the Rams first team offense moved down the field (albeit against the Ravens second string defense, but a Rams offense without franchise cornerstone Steven Jackson).
Bradford looked as calm and collected as a veteran during his last two starts in the preseason. It is still obviously the preseason, but Bradford has impressed in this interim step between college and the regular season NFL game.
With the Rams offense rolling, that takes less pressure off the Rams defense which wilted late in games in 2009 with the Rams offense failing to hold the ball for more than a few minutes of game time before punting.
Each side of the ball does not exist in a vacuum and the success of one side of the ball aides the other side. Especially with the Rams playing ball possession and the short passing game, the Rams defense will be needed to step up when they are fresh.
The Rams went 3-1 last preseason before winning 2 less games in 14 more chances in the regular season, so the preseason results come with a huge dose of salt. But, if anything, this preseason has given Rams fans hope and a reason to look forward to watching Rams football again. And that is a huge deal.