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In last 2 years, only Tebow won while completing less than Bradford

Arizona Cardinals v St Louis Rams Getty Images

The Rams won on Thursday night while Sam Bradford completed only seven passes. How common is that? Well, let’s put it this way: The only other time it happened in the last two seasons was during Tebowmania in Denver.

The last time an NFL team won a game while completing seven or fewer passes was in Week Ten of 2011, when Tim Tebow went 2-for-8 for 69 yards, and the Broncos beat the Chiefs 17-10. Compared to Tebow in that game, Bradford was a reincarnation of the Greatest Show on Turf by completing seven of his 21 passes for 141 yards on Thursday night.

But winning a game while completing seven or fewer passes might not be as rare as you think: According to Pro Football Reference, 361 teams have won a game while completing seven or fewer passes since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It has become a lot less common in recent years (only once last year and only once so far this year), but in the 1970s teams regularly won games while completing a half-dozen or fewer passes.

Winning a game while completing two passes, however, is quite rare: Tebow’s Broncos are one of only three teams in the last 30 seasons to do it. And no team in the last 30 seasons has won a game with less than two completions.

The last team to win a game without completing a single pass was the 1974 Bills, who got 117 rushing yards from O.J. Simpson on the way to beating the Jets 16-12 in a game in which Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson went 0-for-2 passing on a windy, rainy day in Buffalo. (Here are the NFL Films highlights.) The Bills’ strategy of running on virtually every play turned out to be wiser than the Jets’ strategy of trying to throw in the elements: Jets quarterback Joe Namath went 2-for-18 for 33 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Those numbers make Bradford going 7-for-21 look pretty good.

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19 Responses to “In last 2 years, only Tebow won while completing less than Bradford”
  1. joetoronto says: Oct 5, 2012 10:23 AM

    The Rams better watch it with Bradford.

    He can be the face of the franchise and a start studded QB, or he can be completely wasted by a lack of protection.

    Like Marc Bulger.

  2. cuda1234 says: Oct 5, 2012 10:25 AM

    Didn’t Bob Griese win a superbowl while completing 7 passes?

  3. turfrage says: Oct 5, 2012 10:25 AM

    Am I detecting a little snotty attitude here? Every analyst picked wrong on this game and you can’t let it go without putting the Rams down somehow can you? They just plain dominated that game. Yes, stronger on defense, but on offense as well!! this team may not be heading to a Super Bowl this year , but will not be an easy win any longer to be assumed by any team.

  4. brutusmandingo says: Oct 5, 2012 10:48 AM

    he needs better wr so I take it if the Buccaneers where 4-0 or 3-1 or hell 2-2. Josh Freeman wouldn’t be getting criticized because of his low completion rates smh

  5. apm says: Oct 5, 2012 10:50 AM

    Players complaining about the fit of the Nike uniforms should look at Namath’s uniform in that 1974 rainstorm.

  6. bullwinklethemoose says: Oct 5, 2012 11:06 AM

    In Bob Griese’s 2 SB wins, he went 8-11 and 6-7. With that running game, I wouldn’t bother passing either.

  7. dasboat says: Oct 5, 2012 11:18 AM

    Great highlights from 1974! Absolutely LOVE the lack of celebrations after touchdowns. The good old days. And yes, I would be just fine with LESS emotion in the game.

  8. taintedlombardis says: Oct 5, 2012 11:21 AM

    The NFC West is still the NFC Worst. Last night’s game was almost unwatchable. I didn’t see good defense. I saw horrible offense. The Rams are lucky to be where they are ( thank the replacement refs) and their fans are delusional. Two of their wins came against rookie QBs and the third against Kolb (worse than a rookie). Jeff Fisher has made their team the dirtiest in the league.

  9. toadthechoad says: Oct 5, 2012 11:21 AM

    A win is a win. He threw 1 ill advised pass other than that he did what he could with what he had. With the makeshift o line that can’t protect him, I thought all in all he looked ok. Definetly needs a true no 1 receiver though.

  10. hatesycophants says: Oct 5, 2012 11:32 AM

    Sam Bradford is a below average QB, but he is much better than Tebow.

  11. jeffinstlouis says: Oct 5, 2012 11:53 AM

    It helps when one of the passes is a 50+ yard TD bomb to Givens. Once they had a two TD lead, the Rams ran the ball for the majority of the 4th quarter. It’s called conservative football. Don’t really see the controvery or interest here.

    Brutus is right too. The Rams best WR is Amendola and he was injured and out of last night’s game. The Rams need to use one of their first round picks this year to get a franchise WR.

  12. jofus311 says: Oct 5, 2012 11:55 AM

    Maybe some of you Bills fans remember this gem..

    October 11, 2009 – Bills v. Browns

    Derek Anderson, the winning QB, won the 6-3 offensive battle with a 2-for-17 day, throwing for 23 yards and 1 interception.

    I was at that game….

  13. randallflagg52 says: Oct 5, 2012 12:36 PM

    Bradford is a joke. That QB class of 2010 has got to be one of the worst of all time.

  14. 2alldauhaters says: Oct 5, 2012 12:41 PM

    Seriously! Why can’t they give credit to the rams ? Not a Rams fan but the cardinals are not that good. The fins beat them at every aspect of the game. They should of won. The great cards defense hasn’t showed me much. Lucky is what they are! Skelton as qb or kolb? Please, those guys are garbage. Good job rams!

  15. regisphilbin says: Oct 5, 2012 1:01 PM

    Ok, this gives me hope that my Jag’s can pull out another win. Woo Hoo

  16. tjules21 says: Oct 5, 2012 1:23 PM

    The question becomes, who was the last team to win a game with 7 or less completions…in a dome? No weather elements to blame on this performance.

  17. pilot2011 says: Oct 5, 2012 1:58 PM

    2 for 8 ?! I didn’t know it ever got THAT bad. hahaa, God I love Tebow.

  18. ramsnation88 says: Oct 5, 2012 7:40 PM

    So much saltyness from the writer. We all know the offense is patchwork. Thats what Rd 1 and Rd 1a are for next year!!! Once we get an elite OL draftee and a better WR (any warm body at this rate) this offense will get it in gear. Bradford is doing fine stop throwing rocks this kid has brought the Rams back to relevance.

  19. computojon says: Oct 6, 2012 8:03 PM

    taintedlombardis: You’re right that the Rams’ record would be different without the replacement referees. It’d be 4-1 instead of 3-2, because the replacement refs didn’t reset the play clock in Detroit, so Fisher had to call a timeout with 2:03 left. Net result is that the Lions had 1 timeout left during their final drive, instead of 0 timeouts, which changed everything, of course. But you didn’t know that, did you, which makes sense, because your track record shows that you know nothing at all.

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