Bradford has rough debut for Rams (AP)

Aug 15th, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

ST. LOUIS (AP)—Sam Bradford(notes) took the field to a big ovation. Soon enough,
reality sank in for the centerpiece of the St. Louis Rams’ rebuilding effort.

The No. 1 overall pick had an early case of the jitters, short-arming a
pitch and bobbling a snap the first two plays, looked poised while hitting four
of his first five passes, then ended with an extended rough patch in the
Minnesota Vikings’ 28-7 preseason-opening victory Saturday night.

“It was fun to get out there, get hit a couple times, get hit, get knocked
down, get back up,” Bradford said. “Just getting back into the flow of a
football game was fun.”

Sage Rosenfels(notes), chasing Tarvaris Jackson(notes) for the Vikings’ quarterback job
while Brett Favre(notes) waffles on his future, was a standout even though both
starting wide receivers are out with injuries. Rosenfels threw for 157 yards and
two touchdowns in the second quarter against the Rams’ second-teamers and added
a 71-yarder to Marko Mitchell(notes) in the third quarter, finishing 23 of 34 for 310
yards.

The 32-year-old Rosenfels knew before the game that he would be getting a
lot of playing time.

“Mentally I was going into the game thinking like it’s a full game, it’s
not going to be one series or two series and out,” Rosenfels said. “I got more
and more comfortable as the game went on. It’s been a while since I’ve been out
there, seeing real live action. A lot of guys did a lot of good things.”

Jackson started but wasn’t out there for long, taking six snaps on the
opening series while going 2 of 4 for 11 yards.

Vikings coach Brad Childress had no news on the Favre front.

“I didn’t have a vision before the game. Nothing’s changed,” Childress
said. “You know, you can’t have your cell phones with you out on the
sidelines.”

Bradford completed only two of his last eight passes against Vikings
second-teamers, finishing 6 of 13 for 57 yards while getting sacked four times.
The Vikings gave the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner’s surgically repaired right
shoulder a battle test with Jayme Mitchell(notes) getting 1.5 sacks on consecutive
plays in the second quarter.

“I took a couple, landed on the shoulder,” Bradford said. “It’s not sore
at all. We’ll see tomorrow how it feels, but right now it feels great.”

Bradford’s debut probably should be graded on a curve, given Pro Bowl
running back Steven Jackson did not take a snap and the Rams were the NFL’s
puniest offense even with Jackson while going 1-15 last season. Jackson and
Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson both dressed but only watched.

The Rams were handicapped the most, getting outgained 414-150, even though
Childress took out all the starters except center Jon Cooper(notes) after the first
series.

“In the first quarter we did a decent job,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said.
“After that I think it’s obvious we’ve got a lot of things to work on, both
sides of the ball.

“We’ve got plenty of time, nobody’s panicking.”

One of the players most victimized by the Vikings was right tackle Jason
Smith
(notes),
the second overall pick last year who’s been bothered by a broken toe
much of training camp.

St. Louis is 6-42 the last three seasons, a big reason the Edward Jones Dome
was officially only two-thirds full with announced attendance of 40,801.

Bradford is the backup for now behind veteran A.J. Feeley(notes). But Feeley was
shaky, narrowly avoiding interceptions on two passes that could have been
returned for touchdowns while going 3 of 6 for 19 yards.

Danny Amendola(notes) scored on a 93-yard punt return for the Rams, but fumbled
away his next chance at the Rams 16 that led to Rosenfels’ 2-yard touchdown pass
to Logan Payne(notes) five plays later to tie it at 7. Garrett Mills(notes) whipped linebacker
Chris Chamberlain(notes) on a 65-yarder the next series to put the Vikings ahead.

“Better now than in the regular season,” Amendola said. “Try to get the
kinks worked out.”

Six Vikings offensive players did not play. Percy Harvin(notes) has missed all but
two days of training camp due to migraine headaches and a funeral, and Sidney
Rice
(notes)
has a hip injury.

Mills had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, Payne had seven
catches for 52 yards and a touchdown and Mickey Shuler(notes) added a 2-yard grab from
Joe Webb(notes).

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