Tests revealed on Sunday that St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has a torn ACL in his left knee, an injury that occurred during the Rams preseason game Saturday night against the Cleveland Browns.
Bradford is expected to miss the entire 2014 season.
This is the second time he has torn the ACL in his left knee, after he injured it last October and missed the rest of last season as well.
It’s a huge blow for the Rams, who were expected to be competitive in the NFC West this year. Unfortunately, without Bradford, the Rams might struggle to get to an 8-8 record in a best-case scenario.
Before the Bradford injury, I thought every team in the NFC West could finish the year with at least a .500 record. I believed the Rams would be 8-8, the Arizona Cardinals could go 9-7, the San Francisco 49ers would finish 11-5 and the Seahawks would go 12-4.
But now that Bradford is done for the year, all that is shaken up.
The Rams finished last season decently after Bradford’s injury because Kellen Clemens stepped up and guided the team.
Hill would probably figure to be the starter, with eight years of legitimate experience under center in the NFL.
The last time he started a game was in 2010 when he started 10 games for the Detroit Lions, finishing the year with 2,686 yards and 16 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
But this is his first year with the Rams and he is still working on learning the offense. And his competition might be better than once thought.
Austin Davis finished Saturday night’s preseason game very strong, going 14-for-22 for 198 yards a pair of touchdowns and an interception in the Rams’ 33-14 win.
But that was after a subpar performance the week before.
What does all this mean to the Seattle Seahawks?
It means they now have a better chance of beating a Rams team they had some trouble beating last year.
None of Bradford’s backups figure to have any sort of advantage against the Legion of Boom and the rest of the Seahawks defense.
The backups will probably have semi-decent games, but the games won’t be as close as last season’s 14-9 nail-biter in St. Louis on Monday Night Football.
Yes, that was without Bradford and Rams RB Zac Stacy was the thorn in Seattle’s side, but Clemens, the quarterback that night, orchestrated a pretty good drive at the end of the game that nearly deflated the Seahawks victory balloon.
He also kept that game close until the clock hit 0:00.
Clemens has poise and leadership as well as respect from the teammates that play around him, but I’m not sure Shaun Hill, Austin Davis or Garrett Gilbert have that.
The Seahawks don’t play the Rams until Oct. 19 and Dec. 28. I originally thought the Seahawks could lose one of those two games, but with the Bradford injury, I don’t expect the Seahawks to lose either of those games now.
The Bradford injury is completely unfortunate for a Rams team that had a legitimate shot to be competitive this season.
Look for them to finish the year 6-10 or maybe 7-9 without their star quarterback.
The NFC West lost a key player with Bradford being out for the season, which is of course unfortunate, but it means the Seahawks could pick up a game in division play.
If they beat the Rams twice, they can beat the Cardinals twice and finish division play 5-1, perhaps dropping a game to the 49ers.
Let’s wish Bradford a speedy recovery. While it makes the Seahawks chances of winning the NFC West a little better, I hate seeing players get hurt like that, regardless of the team.