Parsing Sam Bradford’s performance: QB Rating by Receiver

Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford will bear the brunt of criticism for the Rams’ offense’s failure to get more points out of their impressive yardage.

Sam Bradford’s mobility was a concern after missing two weeks and most of this one with a high ankle sprain. The Rams locked his foot up in some sort of boot/brace, though, and he showed enough movement in warmups today to earn a spot in the starting lineup.

Concerns about his mobility turned out to be overblown, though. He played a decent game overall, a classically Bradford-y game that completed a decent number of passes but failed to dent the scoreboard. But he could not establish any connection with his #1 receiver, a flaw in his game that held down the Rams’ score in more ways than one.

Not only could he not get that big game-changing play, his repeated attempts at such killed or set back a number of drives, where sticking to what was working — namely, passes to everyone else, and the running game.

@DR_RAM: He didn’t lose the game for us, he just didn’t win it. There’s a big difference.

While we’re pondering that difference, here’s a breakdown of Bradford’s passing by receiver: 

WR COMP ATT Yards QB Rating
Lloyd (WR1) 5 13 80 27.7
Gibson (WR2) 5 5 54 111.6
Salas, Pettis (SWR) 9 12 102 100.0
Bajema, Kendricks (TE) 1 2 7 58.3 
Jackson (RB) 1 2 12 68.8

Lloyd was simply swallowed up by a superior talent in Patrick Peterson. But as we said in the game recap, that didn’t stop the Rams from continuing to test Peterson again and again. (Didn’t they learn anything from LSU-Alabama the night before? Those LSU corners are pretty damn good.)

Kendricks’ injury early in the game highlighted another problem with the Rams’ offense, one that stems from the poor play of the offensive line. (Don’t they all?) Kendricks and Hoomanawanui were supposed to be the “move” plus “block” tight end pairing that could both stay in, or both run out into the pattern, depending on the defensive alignment on the field. This was key to the versatility that was supposed to fuel the Josh McDaniels offense.

But Kendricks doesn’t block well enough to take seriously as anything but a receiver, and so he has not been able to deceive defenses. And the Rams don’t block well enough to spare Hoomanawanui from his blocking duties. Run or pass, he has to stay in and act as a third tackle on nearly every play.

Getting back to Bradford, he will bear the brunt of criticism for not getting enough points out of an otherwise productive offense. And he should. Part of his necessary growth as an NFL quarterback is the recognition of what plays are there for you to make, and taking the shortest path to a positive outcome.