Quarterback Sam Bradford hopes an improved passing game can loosen up running lanes for the leading rusher in franchise history.
"I think the past couple weeks, we’ve seen nothing but eight-man boxes," Bradford told reporters in St. Louis. "Teams really try to stop 'Jack,' which, he’s a great player and I understand why defenses do it, but hopefully they’ll start to respect the pass a little bit more and open up some things for 'Jack'."
ESPN Stats & Information charts defensive box counts as well as "loaded" boxes -- those featuring more defenders than the offense has available to block. By their count, Jackson carried five times for 10 yards against loaded boxes Sunday. Bradford completed 3 of 5 passes for 33 yards and two first downs in these situations.
For the season, Bradford ranks seventh in pass attempts against eight-man boxes with 25. He ranks tied for third with 78 attempts against loaded boxes.
The chart shows where he ranks in passer rating overall, plus against eight-man and loaded boxes (minimum 10 attempts on the eight-man and loaded stats). Bradford probably needs to become more effective throwing against eight-man and loaded boxes to prevent defenses from focusing on Jackson so much.