This season is over for Sam Bradford and it might be over for the St. Louis Rams too.
Bradford will undergo surgery in two to three weeks on the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will be out for the remainder of the season. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
This is a heartbreaking end to Bradford’s best offensive season to date (he had a 90.9 passer rating in his seven starts) and the Rams’ first legitimate chance at a winning season since 2005.
“We’re going to see a lot of people step up,” defensive end Chris Long said. “And we’re going to see a lot of people step up that you might not expect.”
One of these people is backup Kellen Clemens, the only other quarterback on the Rams’ 53-man roster and practice squad.
“Somebody’s got to play,” Clemens said. “So I’ll go out there and do the best job I can and try to help this team win some games.”
At the time of the injury, Bradford was 21-for-30 for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Clemens replaced him and was 2-of-4 for 19 yards.
With Bradford on injured reserve, a spot was left open on the roster to fill with a backup quarterback to replace the now-starting Clemens.
The team confirmed Tuesday afternoon it will bring back Austin Davis, who Clemens beat out for the backup job in training camp and the preseason after Davis spent the 2012 season with the team.
The Rams will also bring aboard Brady Quinn, replacing offensive lineman Brandon Washington on the active roster. For the next two moths, Clemens and likely Quinn will attempt to lead one of the NFL’s youngest rosters and revitalize their diminishing chances at a successful season.
With Clemens under center, it will be hard for the Rams to stay competitive week in and week out. It seems that the loss of Bradford ends the Rams’ playoff hopes as Wild Card contenders.
They may not even win another game over the course of the final nine games of the season. And from this point forward, their schedule doesn’t get any easier as over half of their remaining opponents have a winning record. This team could easily lose its next five games to The Seahawks, The Tennessee Titans, The Indianapolis Colts, The Chicago Bears, and the San Francisco 49ers.
While it will be interesting to see how Clemens and Quinn perform, neither player is a long-term solution to St. Louis’ quarterback woes. Even Bradford’s injury and return might soon be insignificant as St. Louis holds two picks in the upcoming 2014 NFL draft. With this coming year’s quarterback class regarded as one of the best in recent years, there’s no question the Rams will be monitoring prospects like Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Tajh Boyd.