The loss on Sunday to Tampa Bay was a difficult pill to swallow for the Rams. Having led for the majority of the game and not allowed a touchdown until the final minute, what seemed like a likely victory had tuned into defeat #4 for the year. One thing that has been a positive for the franchise though has been Sam Bradford’s response to a tough game.
It is easy to blame others and apportion responsibility, but Bradford has come out and done exactly the opposite following the game. “[If] I can’t go out and execute, it’s just… tough. I gotta get better”, said Bradford of his week 7 performance. It’s that understanding of his role within the team that will help make Sam the keystone of the Rams as the franchise moves forward. Bradford is solidifying himself as a leader for the team, someone who shoulders blame in losses as much as he takes praise for the wins.
The fan base has rallied behind Bradford and given him the plaudits for the three wins to date, when you could quite easily argue that the Rams defense has been the biggest cause for change. Knowing that as the $50m man he is perceived to be the player that will turn the franchise fortunes around has not fazed the rookie, who plays with a maturity beyond his experience level. He also knows when to speak and what to say. On Sunday he threw 2 touchdowns, no interceptions and achieved an 89.6 QB rating, a career high. He could have easily rested on his laurels and ask questions of the others around him.
Despite the decent looking numbers Bradford’s play, or rather accuracy was not as sharp as usual. He only completed 50% of his passes and missed some open receiver you would expect him to hit. I liked the fact he came out and acknowledged that fact, “I’ve got to make throws”, as it depicts a player who wants to lead by example. A good leader will protect his troops by coming out and taking one for the team, and that’s what Bradford did. Did you know we had 11 missed tackles on Sunday? 2 dropped interceptions? Rather focus on opportunities not taken, Bradford was more concerned that in the second half when the Buccs started to stack the box and play man-coverage, he couldn’t make a play.