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Saturday, January 5, 2013
QBR ranks: Acknowledging Sam Bradford

By Mike Sando

The St. Louis Rams, though home for the NFC playoffs, finished the 2012 season with a positive combined net points differential against second-seeded San Francisco and fifth-seeded Seattle.

Their defense and special teams deserve some of the credit, for sure.


So does quarterback Sam Bradford.

As concerning as it might be for Rams fans to see young quarterbacks emerging elsewhere in the NFC West, they should know Bradford generally did his part in hard-fought games against the more talented 49ers and Seahawks.

The Rams' third-year quarterback finished the 2012 season with a 67.1 Total QBR score in four games against San Francisco and Seattle. Fifty is average. Players with a 65-plus score or higher over a full season would generally command Pro Bowl consideration.

Bradford posted a 2-1-1 starting record against Seattle and San Francisco. He completed 62 percent of his passes with three touchdowns, two picks and only six sacks on 156 dropbacks. He added three first downs on seven rushes.

Bradford posted a season-high 82.0 QBR score during the Rams' 24-24 tie at San Francisco in Week 10. He completed 26 of 39 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. That included seven third-down pass completions resulting in first downs. That game demonstrated the Rams at their best on offense, with the potential for more (top deep threat Chris Givens missed that game).

A penalty for illegal formation against receiver Brandon Gibson wiped out an 80-yard strike to Danny Amendola in overtime, a play that likely would have delivered the Rams to victory while affecting the NFC playoff race and possibly getting St. Louis to .500 for the season.

Now, for the not-so-good news: Bradford's QBR score was a below-average 43.2 against all other opponents. His starting record in those games was 5-7, with four of the victories against Arizona (twice), Buffalo and a tanking Tampa Bay team.

I've felt as though a player drafted as early as Bradford was drafted -- first overall in 2010 -- should occasionally dominate a game. There should be times when the opponent leaves the stadium thinking something along the lines of, "Hey, when Sam Bradford gets hot like that, there's not much anyone can do about it."

We haven't seen those types of games from Bradford. We still might if the Rams continue to upgrade the players around him. For this season, he was good enough to help the Rams compete on pretty even terms with the two best teams in the NFC West. That's a start.

With that, let's take a player-by-player look at NFC West quarterbacks in relation to Total QBR for Week 17:
The chart below shows QBR scores for quarterbacks relevant to NFC West games in Week 17. Rankings in the first column reflect all NFL games for the week.