All the talk pregame was about what the San Francisco 49ers needed to do better to get off the schneid. Now we can shift that talk to the St. Louis Rams.
The 49ers beat the Rams, 35-11, in St. Louis in what was a stunningly bad offensive display by the home team. Sam Bradford didn't receive great protection for a second straight game, and his receivers didn't always help him out, but let's get real: He struggled pretty badly.
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With much of the Rams' "Greatest Show On Turf" contingent on hand for a halftime ceremony, Bradford and the Rams' offense got off to a slow start — and then got worse somehow. On what could have been a promising drive in the second quarter, leading 3-0, Bradford hit Chris Givens for 20 yards on third and 9. But Bradford followed that up with a terrible throw that should have been picked easily by 49ers safety Donte Whitner; instead it ended up in the hands of Rams tight end Jared Cook.
Even with some good luck — and that play was one of at least three dropped picks by the Niners — the Rams were awful. Bradford's statistics were bad — 19-of-41 passing for 201 yards with a garbage-time TD and a bad interception — but don't tell nearly the whole story. He routinely overthrew receivers and didn't escape pressure well, making for a slew of long, unconverted third downs.
The run game also was to blame — they totaled 18 yards, which was 201 fewer than the 49ers collected on the ground.
Whitner made amends and stung Bradford with an interception, wiping out a great scoring chance before the half, and the Rams had a mere seven yards on 13 plays run as the 49ers built on their 14-3 lead to an insurmountable one. A Bradford sack-fumble deep in Rams territory early in the fourth quarter made it 28-3 and ended any realistic chance of a Rams comeback.
Before the game, NFL Network ran a report saying that the Rams would do a long-term deal with Bradford "right now" if he and his representatives approached them. Wonder if the offer stands after tonight.
The Rams will have the Washington Redskins' first-round pick (plus their own) next year, and right now those stand to be two pretty darned tasty choices. At this rate, and given the potential talent of the quarterback class, you have to wonder if the Rams won't start thinking about a replacement for Bradford.
It's not as if Thursday was his first bad game in memory. It's starting to become a little chronic, even if the offensive problems clearly are widespread and not just his. Still, at some point patience runs out at the NFL's most critical position.