Bradford shines, but Rams fall to Packers

ST. LOUIS — Sam Bradford experienced a little bit of everything in his two series at the commands of the Rams offense on Saturday.

He had some safe short throws, he overthrew a wide receiver on a deep ball down the sideline, he connected on a long throw down the middle, he took a rough blind-side hit and got up and then he threaded the needle on a touchdown pass down the seam.

All in all it was a successful day for the Rams quarterback, who returned from the knee injury that ended his 2013 season premature when he made his preseason debut on Saturday in a 21-7 loss to the visiting Green Bay Packers at the Edward Jones Dome.

“It was just great to be back on the field with the guys,” Bradford said. “We try to simulate game speed in practice to the best we can, but it’s really hard to simulate that. So to get out there and get some live snaps today, it was just great to feel the speed of the game again.”

Bradford completed nine of 12 passes (75 percent) for 101 yards and a touchdown and had a quarterback rating of 127.4.

He connected with tight end Lance Kendricks for an 11-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter that cut the Rams’ deficit to 10-7 and allowed him to exit the game on a positive note.

HIGHLIGHTS

On the first play of the Rams’ second series, Bradford went deep down the middle to wide receiver Brian Quick for a 41-yard completion.

“That was an extremely tough catch and to see him climb the ladder and go get that ball and then come down and get some yards after the catch,” Bradford said. “… We’ve seen a lot of that from him during OTAs and during training camp. I expect to see a lot more out of him this year doing that.”

Undrafted rookie defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, working with the Rams’ second-string defensive line, had a sack in the second quarter. He finished with four sacks and two quarterback hurries.

Rookie cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, the team’s second-round pick, forced a fumble in the third quarter that was recovered by safety Cody Davis. Joyner led the Rams with six tackles.

Rookie defensive end Michael Sam, one of the Rams’ seventh-round picks, recorded his first sack in the fourth quarter, a play that forced the Packers to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.

STATS

Rookie safety Maurice Alexander, the team’s fourth-round pick, was second on the Rams with five tackles.

The St. Louis quarterbacks combined to complete 16 of 28 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown, and a quarterback rating of 89.4. The Rams have not thrown an interception through their first two preseason games.

The running game didn’t get much going. The Rams combined for 78 yards on 27 attempts, an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Starting running back Zac Stacy gained six yards on six attempts. Rookie Tre Mason, a third-round pick out of Auburn, had a team-high 30 yards on the ground but it took him 12 carries.

The Rams’ leading receiver was Stedman Bailey, with two catches for 28 yards. Bailey, Tavon Austin, Kendricks and Justice Cunningham each had two receptions.

NOTES

The Rams had five starters who did not play in the team’s second preseason game: offensive linemen Jake Long and Rodger Saffold, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, defensive tackle Michael Brockers and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Reserve running back Isaiah Pead made his preseason debut but left the game with an injury after his 33-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. Fisher told reporters Pead may have suffered a season-ending ACL injury to his left knee.

Kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 55-yard field goal attempt wide right early in the fourth quarter. It was his third consecutive miss this preseason. He missed from 46 and 59 in the fourth quarter of the 26-24 loss to the Saints in the preseason opener.

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com

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