COMMENTARY | On Sunday, September 16, the St. Louis Rams beat the Washington Redskins 31-28 to even up their record at 1-1. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was 26 of 35 for 310 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Some people might call this win special simply because Jeff Fisher won his first game as the team's head coach. Yet I think it goes a little deeper than that. This victory is special because the Rams did things in this game that they haven't done in years. It's been a long time since the team's offense gave a performance like it did on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the defense overcame a rough start and held the Redskins' offense to just seven points in the second half. The unit didn't fall apart against a team that burned them for multiple big plays early in the game. That's a huge difference from last season.
Two solid games in a row
It's easy to disregard this victory as a fluke. We don't know how good the Redskins really are this season, and the game may have been a battle between two subpar teams with a lot of growing to do. However, it's important to note that the Rams also gave the Detroit Lions some problems last week and probably deserved to win that game.
The team has now played two games in 2012, and both of them were improvements over last season. The Rams probably aren't going to win more than five or six games this year, but it's obvious that opponents aren't going to run them off the field like they have in the past.
There were a lot of questions surrounding Sam Bradford's performance against the Lions last weekend. He wasn't awful, but there were times when Bradford looked just as lost as he did throughout 2011. With that in mind, I wanted to see how he'd come out against the Redskins.
The New Orleans Saints torched the Redskins' secondary in Week 1. Although I didn't expect Bradford to put up numbers like Drew Brees did last Sunday, I thought he could have a solid afternoon. Well, Bradford was more than solid against the Redskins. His 310 yards passing and three touchdowns were the main reason the Rams came back to win this game.
However, I was even more impressed with Bradford's response to his interception. Bradford didn't let his mistake keep the Rams from winning this game. Once he got the ball back in his hands, he took the offense right back downfield for the winning score. That's the kind of quarterback the Rams have been looking for since the Kurt Warner days. If Bradford can keep putting together performances like he did on Sunday, then the Rams are going to surprise a lot of people in 2012.
Another difference between last year's team and the current Rams is their resilience. The 2011 Rams would have fallen apart once their opponent got them down 21-6. The team had no confidence, nor did it have the coaching to overcome such deficits.
Yet the current Rams never gave up on Sunday. St. Louis immediately fought back and cut the lead to 21-16 at halftime. Once the Redskins moved ahead 28-23, Bradford drove the team downfield again and threw the game-winning touchdown to Matthew Mulligan early in the fourth quarter. Then the Rams' defense held off the Redskins as they tried to steal away the game at the end. That's the difference between last season and this season. This team isn't going to get slapped around any longer.
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