Breaking Down Sam Bradford Under Pressure

August 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

Sam Bradford has taken more than his fair share of abuse, but like an old school Timex, he keeps on ticking. How well he was ticking was the subject of considerable debate during the offseason after experts began to diagnose a severe case of "cabin fever" in the St. Louis Rams' third-year quarterback.

Bradford's preseason results were mixed. Against an aggressive Dallas defense, playing like it was Week 3 of the regular season rather than the exhibition season, the Rams' quarterback took some hits and found himself working under pressure most of the night. Results were mixed, but Bradford was the least of team's worries in that game, one that did not feature Steven Jackson.

Against the Ravens, in his last outing, Bradford was razor sharp, pitching one of his most effective games since the last preseason. More importantly, he did a nice job making plays under pressure. No play exemplified that better than a 46-yard strike to Steve Smith. Let's take a look.

This is on third-and-10 of the Rams second drive of the first quarter, their first scoring drive. He's working out of the shotgun, and takes about five steps back after getting the ball.

If this were a three-step drop and a quick throw across the middle, he would have a clean pocket. Instead, he had defenders and blockers crashing in on him as he make the throw. The ball goes straight and true to find Smith streaking down the sidelines, and the receiver gets some credit for making a nice catch.

Bradford made this throw under pressure. Yes, it was pressure from the Ravens' second team, but pressure is pressure. This is a positive result from the quarterback, and if he can do this on quick drops with Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril crashing the pocket on Sunday, it will give the Rams the chance to score more points than they did in their last outing to Detroit during Bradford's rookie season.

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