Sam Bradford (8) completes a pass against the Washington Redskins during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams defeated the Redskins 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Coach Jeff Fisher has frequently made it clear the Rams' job was attractive because of the presence of quarterback Sam Bradford.
Following a week in which the hype reached hyperbolic levels for Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, Bradford simply went out and completed 26 of 35 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns with a passer rating of 117.6.
Said defensive end Chris Long, "It was a big win for our team, but it was also a big win for Sam. Sam's a hell of a guy and a quarterback and a tough kid who's gone through some adversity. He came out today and he carved them up and did an awesome job. If anybody earned it, Sam earned it."
Most important, Bradford was perfect on third-down plays except for one sack. The Rams converted 7-of-12 third downs (58.3 percent) coming off the Detroit game when they were 4-for-12 and a 2011 season when they converted just 28.1 percent. In no game last season did the Rams reach 50 percent, with their best being 37.5 percent.
Overall, Bradford was 9-for-9 on third down for 92 yards and a touchdown and on the seven successes, he was 7-for-7 for 83 yard and the score.
Asked about Bradford's play following Sunday's 31-28 win, Fisher said, "Sam's played two pretty good ballgames against two difficult defenses. Sam can put things behind him. He was really frustrated with the interception, but again, came right back and takes care of that with another touchdown pass. But he's got a good sense for what he's doing and I think this team's only going to get better."
Bradford connected with wide receiver Danny Amendola 15 times for 160 yards including 12 for 133 in the first half. Amendola had 85 receptions in 2010, but was lost for the season in last year's opening-day game with a dislocated elbow and triceps injury.
As Bradford said Sunday, "Obviously it's nice to have him back out there on the field. He's a tremendous player. We knew going into this week that we were going to try to get him the ball, just in some of the things we were doing with the game plan. He came out, he played great today. I think it says a lot about him, after the first play he didn't get down, he came back and had probably one of the best halves I've ever seen from a wide receiver."
That first play was a 13-yard gain in which Amendola fumbled and Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
After the fumble, Bradford said, "We came to the sideline and that's the first thing I said to him. I said, 'I'm coming right back to you.' Just because he does that, there's no way that I'm ever going to stop throwing him the ball. When he gets open the way he does and makes plays with the ball in his hand, he's going to see a lot of targets."
Only one time in the game was a pass for Amendola incomplete.