EARTH CITY, Mo. -- A weekly examination of the St. Louis Rams’ quarterback play.
Rewind: Rams quarterback Sam Bradford had his worst outing of the young season last week against San Francisco. He came under heavy pressure for the second week in a row as the Rams’ offensive line struggled to create a healthy pocket and the Rams’ inability to run the ball put the onus on Bradford to make things happen.
It was a task Bradford wasn’t up to as he completed 46.3 percent of his 41 pass attempts for a meager QBR of 24.6.
On the few occasions where opportunities for big plays presented themselves, Bradford struggled. He missed a wide-open Austin Pettis for what should have been an easy touchdown and underthrew Brian Quick on a deep ball that ended up as an interception.
Fast-forward: It would help Bradford if the Rams could get some semblance of a run game going. It could happen this week as Jacksonville’s run defense is the worst in the league, allowing more than 164 yards per game on the ground.
The Jaguars are 11th in the league in pass defense but 22nd in yards allowed per attempt, meaning teams are having success when throwing but most aren’t doing it as much because of their success running it.
First things first: We’ve documented the struggles of Bradford and the Rams on third down this year but it’s also worth noting his success throwing on first down. Given that the Rams have done little to create decent third-down situations with the run game, a modest proposal of throwing on first down might be advised.
Through four games, Bradford is completing almost 69 percent of his 74 attempts with a QBR of 69.2 on first down compared to 44.7 percent of 47 attempts with a QBR of 3.8 on third down. Perhaps continued success on first down could lead to improvement on third.
Prediction: The Rams will find enough success on the ground for Bradford to take some steps forward from a rough week last week. But don’t expect big, flashy numbers when it’s all said and done.