It's fitting that the St. Louis Rams are playing the Seattle Seahawks this weekend of all weekends. Why? Well, besides the season's first chapter in these two teams' NFC West rivalry with each team coming off surprising results the week before, it's also appropriate because of a certain college football game happening tomorrow. The Red River Rivalry is the annual game between Texas and Oklahoma; needless to say, it's a game that saw a couple brilliant Sam Bradford performances. This weekend in St. Louis, the former OU quarterback gets a rematch with Texas safety Earl Thomas.
The history of Bradford and Thomas and more about what's at stake in St. Louis this weekend after the jump.
Of course, the two players on faced each other in 2008 and 2009. However, Bradford left early in the 2009 game after a first quarter sack aggravated his injured shoulder.
The 2008 game was the stuff of legend, with Texas eventually winning by a score of 45-38. Bradford threw 5 TD passes and accumulated a total of 387 passing yards. However, he was picked off twice in that game, by none other than Earl Thomas. One of those INTs came on a last-ditch attempt at the end of the game, sort of like his INT to finish the game against Arizona in week 1. Field Gulls has a nice little write up of the 2008 game.
Thomas' two picks against the Chargers last week helped Seattle pull off the upset. However, his early season work against the run has been a notable ingredient of Seattle's success in that department. Not a huge surprise. Thomas played SS with Texas.
Seattle's pass defense has a 17.4 percent DVOA, 22nd in the NFL. Thomas might be the best player in the secondary for Seattle, even as a rookie. Their corners were abused by Kyle Orton in week 2, who finished with a 71.4 percent completion rate on 35 attempts and a 117.2 QB rating. Kelly Jennings might be the most favorable target for Bradford.
The Rams offense seems to be coming out of its shell. Seattle's defense presents a good opportunity for Bradford et al to take the next step forward. A rematch with Earl Thomas adds an extra wrinkle of excitement to the whole thing.
Bradford, though his quiet nature belies it, is a fiercely competitive player. He'll be anxious to exact a little revenge for the 2008 loss, a record setting game for him. Last week he got some of that back against Washington and Brian Orakpo, who sacked him twice in that game. This week would be a good time to get a little back from Thomas.