Monday, September 17, 2012
Around the NFC West: Bradford's big day
By Mike Sando
Jeff Fisher didn't need the St. Louis Rams' 31-28 victory over the Washington Redskins as much as a certain quarterback did.
Fisher has a five-year contract. He's a proven coach. He's building for the long term.
Sam Bradford, entering his third season as the Rams' quarterback, needed some short-term affirmation. He'd struggled last season for a variety of reasons. Never in two-plus seasons had he looked nearly as good as Robert Griffin III had looked for the Redskins in Week 1. Bradford needed a breakout game and got one.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Bradford and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were among the last to leave the Rams' locker room in the Edward Jones Dome, and both men were smiling broadly. Burwell: "We're starting to see after only two games that Bradford's partnership with Schottenheimer seems to be a match made in football heaven for young Mr. Bradford. Seeing him rolling out and extending plays with his legs, seeing him slide around to avoid pass rushers, keeping his head up, standing firm in the pocket and completing big play after big play with the same accuracy that made him the No. 1 overall pick barely three years ago, did wonders to shut up all the silly conversations that questioned whether he still possessed this sort of enormous talent."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says rookie tight end Matthew Mulligan played a surprisingly prominent role in the Rams' first victory under Fisher, scoring the go-ahead touchdown on a reception from Bradford. Mulligan: "As soon as I turned around, I was like: 'Wow! I don't think there's anybody here with me. Everybody just left me alone. Basically nobody covered me."
Also from Thomas: Danny Amendola's big first half began with a big disappointment. Thomas also updates the Rams' injury situation.
Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says rookie running back Daryl Richardson provided a spark off the bench while Steven Jackson rested a groin injury. The bigger question was whether Fisher had benched Steven Jackson after Jackson incurred a penalty. Jackson: "In that drive, I felt the groin strain. I felt I was going to be able to come back and play. But as I was standing on the sidelines, it started to bother me more and more. We were just real cautious with it and made sure we didn't make it any worse than what it is. I think it's something I can bounce back from fairly fast. And I think what really made me and the coaching staff so comfortable is the way Daryl ran. He did a good job."
Jeff Gordon of stltoday.com hands out "A" grades for the Rams' offense and "B" grades for the defense.
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams have become a fun team again, playing two competitive games in as many weeks and winning one of them.
Also from Wagoner: Jackson reflects on what separates this Rams team from recent ones. Jackson: "It's a completely different swagger. It’s just amazing. I know it’s only Week 2 and we’re 1-1, but it’s just a whole different atmosphere. I can’t thank Coach Jeff Fisher enough for what he’s done and what he’s doing with us."