Bradford, severely limited by a high-ankle sprain during a Dec. 13 game at Seattle, was no match for the Seahawks' defense when the Rams sent him around the corner on second-and-goal bootleg from the 1-yard line.
Safety Atari Bigby hammered Bradford, forcing a penalty for intentional grounding when the quarterback tried to unload the football at the last moment.
What good could come from that Monday night defeat in Seattle?
"Sam definitely showed me something that night," Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson said from Rams camp recently.
Bradford was hardly able to move, and the Rams' season had long since lost meaning. Sitting out would have been a smart move from a purely practical standpoint. Bradford's decision to play anyway made a statement that resonated with Jackson, the Rams' undisputed leader.
"At that point, I knew that regardless of the situation, he wanted to lead the team," Jackson said.
Bradford is coming off a rough second season. It's fair to question how he'll handle adjusting to a third offensive system in as many years, or if he'll develop as once expected from a skills standpoint.
The Rams don't have to worry about Bradford's leadership credentials. A stamp of approval from Jackson stands as the highest honor in St. Louis' locker room.