Rams, Eagles, 49ers face life without a legit QB

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 15, 2010



By Mark "The King" Wald
Cold, Hard Football Facts contributor with delusions of mediocrity
 
Sam Bradford had an impressive pre-season. So the Rams wasted no time getting the Bradford Era underway, starting him against the Cardinals on Sunday. They executed a careful plan to break the boy in gently, picking his spots while pounding the ball with workhorse RB Steven Jackson.
 
Not quite. 
 
Bradford threw 55 passes, the most passes attempted by a rookie in his first career start. Naturally, the Rams lost, 17-13. Bradford didn't just break the record, he obliterated it: Keith Null held the previous record with 43 attempts in his first start last year, also with the Rams (and some people wonder why the organization is so bad).
 
Most Pass Attempts (first start) by a Rookie Quarterback

Quarterback

Team

Pass Attempts

Date

Sam Bradford

St. Louis

55

12/12/2010

Keith Null

St. Louis

44

12/13/2009

Kyle Boller

Baltimore

43

9/7/2003

Ken Karcher

Denver

40

10/4/1987

Charlie Batch

Detroit

40

9/28/1988

Todd Marinovich

L.A. Raiders

40

12/22/1991

John Navarre

Arizona

40

12/5/2004

 
Rams coach Steve Spagnualo either gets a cap tip for having the nuts to put the game in the hands of his rookie quarterback, or he gets the what the f*ck were you thinking award
 
We'll settle on the latter. 
 
We don't want to write off Bradford's career quite yet. Talented kid who probably has a great career ahead of them. But you might notice something about all those other guys thrown to the wolves in their first NFL start: None of them were any good. Boller and Marinovich, in particular, were highly touted first-round picks who became major busts. 
 
High number of pass attempts = high likelihood of losing
A quick check of the Week 1 box scores shows that seven quarterbacks attempted at least 40 passes. Six of those seven quarterbacks went home losers.   
 
QBs with 40 or More Pass Attempts (Week 1, 2010)

Quarterback

Game

Cmp-Att-Yds

Result

Peyton Manning

Colts vs. Texans

40-57-433

L 24-34

Sam Bradford

Rams vs. Cardinals

32-55-253

L 13-17

Carson Palmer

Bengals vs. Patriots

34-50-345

L 24-38

Tony Romo

Cowboys vs. Redskins

31-47-282

L 7-13

Alex Smith

49ers vs. Seahawks

26-45-225

L 6-31

Matt Ryan

Falcons vs. Steelers

27-44-252

L 9-15

Derek Anderson

Cardinals vs. Rams

22-41-297

W 17-13

 
As we chronicled last year, teams rarely win when they have a high number of pass attempts. Even teams with great quarterbacks struggle to win in these situations.
 
Unless a team is in catch-up mode, 40 passes is pushing it. Fifty passes is insanity. We're talking about a game in which the Rams actually held a 3 point lead in the fourth quarter.    
 
With 81 yards on 22 carries, Jackson's numbers weren't mind-blowing but they weren't horrible either. Given the tight game, a little more Jackson and a little less Bradford would have been a good idea.
 
Someone mention that to Spagnuolo the next time you see him.
 
Not that Bradford didn't have his moments, even if they weren't evident on the stat line. Bradford threw three interceptions and averaged only 4.6 YPA, but he also completed a few big passes, led a couple impressive drives, and displayed good poise.
 
Funny, the pre-season holds as much meaning for us as the universe does for a student of existential philosophy. But the mind can still play tricks on you. 
 
Last time we checked Bradford was completing big strikes downfield against New England's struggling defense. With Kurt Warner's retirement and the INT-prone Derek Anderson starting for the Cards, the Rams were an attractive underdog pick in Week 1. 
 
 
Unless their name is Marino or Roethlisberger, bet against rookie quarterbacks.
 
Reaction in Philly: "Oh Sh*t, what did we do?"
It's hard to know if Jim Haslett's defense in Washington deserves kudos for shutting down Dallas Sunday night or not (13-7 Redskins win).
 
Dallas had more trouble scoring in August than a mason with a chipped brick set. So we'll wait a few more games before passing judgment.
 
On offense, though, Redskins fans have reason for cautious optimism (as CHFF suggested they would at the start of the season). With Donavon McNabb under center there seemed to be more rhythm and direction to Redskins offense than we've seen in quite some time, even if they didn't exactly light it up.
 
There were the inevitable McNabb specials passes short-hopped straight into the dirt but there was also the field awareness and interception free-game we've come to expect from McNabb. To Redskins fans, the difference in confidence and execution had to be apparent. Under Shanahan, the points will come.
 
Back in Philadelphia, forget about Kevin Kolb's injury. Even before it happened there was an unsettling not-ready-for-prime-time feel about Kolb's performance. As they watched him struggle, the Philly crowd had to be thinking of the times you walk eagerly into a restroom stall only to find a big turd staring at you, the toilet obviously not in working order. 

How did this happen...and what the hell are we going to do now?
 
Andy Reid will have fun figuring out this mess over the next few weeks. We'll have more fun watching.
 
As for Michael Vick, despite the spirited performance in relief he's done nothing in his career to demonstrate he's the every down quarterback that will take you to the promised land.
 
Sure was exciting though. 
 
And Brett Favre just has fun out there.
 
Hell, give us a quarterback who's boring and hates his job. Hell, we hate our jobs. Why should quarterbacks be any different. Just give us a quarterback that wins.
 
In the meantime, Eagles fans, there's this old expression that goes be careful what you ask for...
 
Asses all-around: disappointment of the week
Someone with emotions might tell you it was a bummer watching resident NFL candy-ass Pete Carroll thoroughly whip tough-guy Mike Singletary in his first game back coaching in the NFL.
 
Carroll's Seahawks beat Singletary's 49ers 31-6 on Sunday. The 49ers were the trendy pick of many to win the NFC West this year.
 
Someone with emotions might tell you they wanted to watch the haul-ass-to-save-your-ass former USC coach get his ass handed to him in Week 1.
 
Someone with emotions might tell you they were rooting for Singletary, a likeable guy who is easy to root for.
 
But since we don't have emotions, we won't point out any of those things. We'll just point out the Cold, Hard Football Facts: 
 
Seattle won because their mediocre yet occasionally competently effective former Pro Bowl quarterback outplayed San Francisco's bust-in-the-making quarterback. 
  • Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck: 18 of 23 (78.3%),170 yards, 7.4 YPA, 2 TD, 1 INT, 108.3 rating
  • San Francisco QB Alex Smith: 26 of 45 (57.8%), 225 yards, 5.0 YPA, 0 TD, 2 INT, 52.5 rating
After the game Singletary said he'd like to thank Pete Carroll for kicking (their) tails. 
 
As far as motivational tactics go, Singletary might want to think about dropping trou again.

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