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Charting Sam Bradford vs. Houston Texans: Less Is More

The St. Louis Rams picked up a much needed win against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Sam Bradford didn’t need to throw for 300 yards for the team to secure victory. Let’s have a closer look at how he lead the passing game.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last Monday - after the Rams' home victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars - we charted Sam Bradford’s performance. In that game, Bradford attempted 34 passes [completing 19], and tallying 222 yards and a 3 touchdowns. Finishing the game with a 105.3 passer rating, it’s fair to say Bradford’s day was a success…albeit against one of the NFL’s worst defenses.

Yesterday, on the road in Houston, provided the Rams with a tougher task. The Texans possess one of the league’s best defenses. Current QB woes aside, their offense has it’s fair share of weapons, as well. If Matt Schaub were able to limit the Schaub-y things he’s done [through the first 5 weeks], it’s plausible the Texans could’ve taken an early lead and had the Rams reeling. It didn’t pan out that way for the Texans, and though the Rams dominated on Sunday, the Texans still rank as the NFL’s top overall [and passing] defense.

Sam wasn’t forced to throw the ball on Sunday, and the offense was more efficient as a result. Zac Stacy continues to impress, and the Rams are establishing a run game for the first time in…well…2013. When Sam is forced to throw - in games where the team is trying to "get back in it" - the results aren’t desirable. In the team’s three losses this season, Sam attempted to pass the ball 144 times [48 per game]. In games where they’ve won? 88 attempts [29 per game]. When the Rams find ‘balance,’ the Rams find success.

On Sunday, though, Sam attempted his fewest attempts in his entire career [16]. For the most part, he made it look easy…

As a quick reminder, short passes are 5 yards or less, intermediate run 6-15, and deep is anything beyond that point. A few things to note:

* When Sam throws deep left, he’s money. He’s 2-2 over the past two games, totaling 62 yards.
* The 0/1 in "Deep Center" was a play where Chris Givens wasn’t able to secure the ball. Should’ve been six
* Bradford only attempted one pass between 6-15 yards yesterday. It’s…interesting.
* 12 of Bradford’s 16 attempts on the day came within 5 yards. He was 11/12 on those plays. He scored a TD every fourth throw [prior to 5 yards downfield].
* Bradford attempted 13 passes "short right" last week against Jacksonville. Over the past two weeks, he’s attempted 20 passes in that quadrant, completing 17 [85 completion percentage], 136 yards and 3 TD’s.

Interestingly enough, Bradford’s low passing total [in terms of yardage; 117] was also the lowest figure of his young career. The 134.6 passer rating is his highest.

Sam Bradford attempted the fewest single-game pass attempts of his career, tallying the lowest yardage, and with his highest QB rating.

Maybe less really is more.