Sam Bradford had a pretty good game against Miami before he got injured. But looking at the coaches’ tape emphasizes how skewed he was in favor of short passes. The three big catch-and-runs to Brent Celek hid this fact statistically, but Bradford left a lot of meat on the bone with his reluctance to throw long. Either he just hates to throw long, or he literally can’t see receivers more than 8 yards away. Let’s chip in to get the man an eye exam.
This was a big factor when things started to sour in the second quarter. Just after the two minute warning, Sam threw short of the sticks on 3rd and five — which takes some effort — but Huff fought through three defenders to get the first down anyway.
Then, after a run was stuffed, it was 2nd and 14. Bradford threw to Sproles just over the line of scrimmage, even though he had Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews five yards down field, crossing each other on mesh routes, wide open. Yes, Sproles is good in the open field, but on this play he was flat-footed and facing the backfield, while Agholor and Matthews (if hit in stride) were in much better position to run past nearby defenders for a big gain.
Even if they were tackled immediately, they would have had five more yards than Sproles got. No matter how short the passes available to him are, Bradford seems more comfortable throwing shorter yet.
The following play was 3rd and 12. (See the photo at the top of this post.) Cooper came wide open running an out from the seam, safely past the sticks. Sam threw instead to Ertz, with two men on him, six yards short of a first down. (He also threw behind him, resulting in an incompletion and a punt.)
When a short catch-and-run might have been a good choice, Bradford still picked the wrong one. On the play right before the blocked punt, facing 3rd and 14, he didn’t wait quite long enough for the stick route by Huff to develop, out near the first down marker. Instead, he threw at Ryan Mathews in the flat, 12 yards short of the promised land.Checkdown to Mathews; Ertz was wide open, Huff had a stick route