Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Sam Bradford did not play In the two 2011 match-ups between the 49ers and Rams. Does this give the Rams any advantage?
As the 49ers face the Rams this week they might need to refresh their memory on a certain guy: Sam Bradford. The young St. Louis quarterback wasn't active in either game between the two teams last year. While the 49ers have seen Bradford in years past, that was before Jim Harbaugh and Company took over.
While film helps you to get an idea for what a guy is doing, his preferences, weaknesses, etc...there's no substitute for having seen him live, on the field. Some of the newest 49ers have either not ever faced Bradford or have only seen him a limited number of times, especially second-year players and guys coming from other teams.
We all know that Harbaugh and staff have been studying extra on this game due to the bye week (where Harbaugh took all of two days off), but can you replace that in-game experience, or will it be a non-factor?
Bradford isn't having a lights-out year statistically thus-far in 2012. While Alex Smith has 12 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions and a 69.4% completion rate, the Rams signal-caller has just 8 touchdowns to go along with 7 interceptions and 61.4% completions.
St. Louis is throwing the ball more than the 49ers, though, so the passing game can be sure to show-up on Sunday in San Francisco. Bradford has been sacked 23 times in 8 games and as with any QB, pressure could be the key to rattling him into tossing more of those INTs.
The other thing I notice in looking at Bradford is that he's throwing the ball farther per attempt than he had in years past, 7.2 yards to be exact. In 2011 he threw for just 6.1 YPA and only 6.0 in 2010. Fortunately for the 49ers, they have the league's second-rated pass defense in terms of yards allowed per game.
Division rivalry games are never a guaranteed win, and with the 49ers defense not having seen Bradford in person in over a year, it will be a story to watch come Sunday.