Thursday, August 30, 2012
Three things revisited: Ravens-Rams
By Mike Sando
Looking back on three things discussed here before the St. Louis Rams’ preseason game against Baltimore at the Edward Jones Dome on Thursday night:
1. The score. The Rams' starters were playing against the Ravens' backups, so it would have been troubling had Baltimore dominated. St. Louis took control early and built a 21-0 halftime lead. That was what the Rams wanted to see.
Playing starters in the final preseason game does carry injury risks. The first quarter was winding down when first-round pick Michael Brockers suffered an injured right ankle. The Rams said his return was questionable. Brockers did not return, of course. Coach Jeff Fisher told the Rams' preseason TV network he thought Brockers' injury was "not too serious" pending a more definitive diagnosis.
As I posted this, the Rams led 28-0 in the third quarter following Janoris Jenkins' interception return for a touchdown.
2. Bradford's comfort level. Quarterback Sam Bradford was generally on point against the Ravens' backups. Despite a few apparent miscommunications with receivers, Bradford connect on short and long throws alike. His 46-yard strike to Steve Smith traveled about 60 yards in the air from where Bradford released it in the Rams' end zone. That play sustained a nine-play, 94-yard touchdown drive.
Bradford completed 11 of 16 passes for 175 yards and three scores. Austin Pettis, Danny Amendola and Mike Hoomanawanui caught scoring passes.
The Ravens got little pressure on Bradford, a significant difference from last week, when St. Louis struggled to protect against Dallas' starting defense. Bradford did absorb a huge hit from the Ravens' Sergio Kindle. Kindle tagged Bradford well after the play. Another time, a Ravens defender landed hard on Bradford when the quarterback retreated to fall on a bad snap from center Scott Wells. The hits did not appear to affect Bradford. This game marked a step forward for him.
3. Pead vs. Richardson. Seventh-round choice Daryl Richardson played extensively with the starters and looked like he belonged. Richardson had nine touches for 46 yards in the first half. Second-rounder Isaiah Pead made a brief appearance with the starters, losing yardage on Wildcat play. He nearly matched Richardson's numbers by halftime, but Richardson lost no ground to Pead in this game. He had the stronger preseason, too. The Rams have more than one option behind starter Steven Jackson.
Update: Pead ran hard and blasted safety Cyhl Quarles following a 28-yard gain in the second half. He finished the preseason on the upswing.