Advancing conversation on Bradford, 49ers

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
3:15
PM ET
San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner's recent comments complimenting St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford invites a closer look at some of the dynamics.

I'll start by addressing a couple points made in the comments section of our earlier item.


  • Ramon thought a shaky showing by the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick was a bigger factor than Bradford in helping the Rams to a 16-13 overtime victory in the Edward Jones Dome. That was a game we discussed at length during the season, particularly as it pertained to each quarterback's contributions. A controversial play call and Kaepernick's errant pitch contributed to a costly turnover, but Kaepernick also provided a critical 50-yard run during the fourth quarter. Bradford played that game without receiver Danny Amendola, which leads to another point made in the comments section.
  • Jesse blamed the 49ers' secondary for failing to contain Amendola when the Rams and 49ers played to a 24-24 tie in Week 10. He didn't think Bradford was the pivotal player for St. Louis in that game. No question, Amendola gave the 49ers problems, but Bradford was very good in that game, too, as former NFL coach Rick Venturi noted in his analysis of that game. Had receiver Brandon Gibson not lined up improperly in that game, Bradford and Amendola would have gotten credit for an 80-yard reception in overtime.

The chart below ranks the 10 best single-game Total QBR scores by starters against the 49ers during the 2012 regular season. Bradford owns two of the top five. He had a 72.2 QBR score over two games against the 49ers, compared to 46.5 across all other games. That affirms perceptions about Bradford playing a leading role in the Rams' success against San Francisco last season.

The first chart is the same one from the previous item. It compares Bradford's cumulative stats against the 49ers to those for the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson. Wilson owns the highest single-game QBR score against the 49ers, but his overall score suffered from a less productive game against San Francisco in Week 7.

On QBR, 100 is the maximum score and 50 is average. Teams with the higher Total QBR score in a game have gone 1,103-175-2 (.863) since 2008, including 222-33-1 (.869) last season, highlighting the role quarterbacks play in winning. The Rams' 16-13 victory over the 49ers in Week 13 was one exception. Kaepernick actually had a higher QBR score than Bradford for that game, an anomaly we addressed in December.

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