Yes, it really was Sam Bradford’s best game ever

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Football broadcasters and analysts love hyperbole more than anything else in the entire world. And we heard plenty of it in Week One, whether it’s the best catch you’ve ever seen to the best running back I’ve ever seen to the best throw you’ll ever see (Jon Gruden actually said that last night, and it wasn’t even close to being the best throw of the game).

But when it comes to instant-analysis claims that Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford played the best game of his career, it wasn’t an exaggeration. That’s not to say Bradford hasn’t had other great games. On Monday night, however, he completed 84.4 percent of his passes and averaged 10.8 yards per pass, a lethal combination of accuracy and efficiency that puts an offense on rails and keeps it there.

Along the way, Bradford lofted a seeing-eye rainbow to Jarius Wright on a crossing route, who wasn’t open and never broke open. Instead, Bradford managed to drop a pig through the eye of a moving needle.

Bradford has never played, or looked, better. While it helps to have time to find an open receiver, it also helps to have the benefit of the time that comes from being with the team throughout the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason.

Last year, his arrival on Labor Day weekend was akin to changing a tire on a moving car. This year, the wheels are rolling well out of the garage. There’s a long way to go, but so far the Vikings are going in the right direction, with Bradford firmly in control of the offense — and having the ability to properly run it.

97 responses to “Yes, it really was Sam Bradford’s best game ever

  1. “That’s ridiculous because they don’t throw the deep ball,” said Vaccaro, who said the scouting report on Bradford was that he likes to check down. “For him to drive the field throwing the ball downfield is just unacceptable to me.”

    Love it! I’ll temper my expectations of course but cant complain about that being the way to open a season. That throw to Wright was a fantastic throw and I thought the best of the night

  2. ariani1985 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:33 am
    just think that Ted Thompson passed on him twice to select another player, let that sink in!

    **

    Ariani I’m starting to believe you are a Packers troll disguised as a Viking troll. As a Vikings fan, you annoy me.

    In relation to this article, it was refreshing to see a new system sans AP. Lots of talent and no obligation to hand off to AP on 1st and 2nd down. Could this be a fluke game because the Saints are so bad at D? Maybe. Hopefully not, but at least we saw signs of ability and willingness to stretch the field.

  3. The Vikings offensive line last season was just a hot mess. Couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t pass protect. The o-line appears to have improved.

  4. There will be a lot more where that came from. Sam is easily a top 5 QB. If they keep him upright and give him time, the Vikings will be the team to beat in the NFC – as we expected.

  5. tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:39 am
    There will be a lot more where that came from. Sam is easily a top 5 QB. If they keep him upright and give him time, the Vikings will be the team to beat in the NFC – as we expected.

    ————

    Top 5 QB? Even you don’t really believe that….

  6. Ariani I’m starting to believe you are a Packers troll disguised as a Viking troll. As a Vikings fan, you annoy me.
    ———–
    It does seem like he’s trying to embarrass Viking fans doesn’t it? I hope your right because the alternative is scary.

  7. tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:39 am
    There will be a lot more where that came from. Sam is easily a top 5 QB. If they keep him upright and give him time, the Vikings will be the team to beat in the NFC – as we expected.
    ________________________

    After ONE GAME, against a defense with 5 new starters and who was missing their starting left tackle, the viking faithful have anointed greatness. You are nothing if not predictable.

  8. There will be a lot more where that came from. Sam is easily a top 5 QB. If they keep him upright and give him time, the Vikings will be the team to beat in the NFC – as we expected.
    —–
    Lol….you beat the saints. It was a great win, I take nothing away from the team, but man some of you fans are just ridiculous.

  9. Give Bradford time to throw and an above average (or better) defense and–whatdayaknow–he’s a pretty good QB. Sounds good to me. Now lets see him do this to a playoff team (how about Pittsburgh??) and then we can really be impressed. Because right now it looks like the Saints still have an awful defense. Can he (and the O-Line) preform like this against a D-line that is worth a damn? That remains to be seen.

  10. ariani1985 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:33 am

    just think that Ted Thompson passed on him twice to select another player, let that sink in!
    ———————-

    He passed twice on the #1 overall pick?

  11. After ONE GAME, against a defense with 5 new starters and who was missing their starting left tackle, the viking faithful have anointed greatness. You are nothing if not predictable.

    Not after one game. Anyone can predict the future after it happens. Those of us who know the sport have been saying all training camp and preseason that the Vikings are the team to beat if Sam stays upright and they don’t get crushed by injuries – again.

  12. pkrlvr says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:46 am
    Ariani I’m starting to believe you are a Packers troll disguised as a Viking troll. As a Vikings fan, you annoy me.
    ———–
    It does seem like he’s trying to embarrass Viking fans doesn’t it? I hope your right because the alternative is scary.

    ***

    Which is why I rebuke him. Our hands are now washed of him.

  13. truthbetold109 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:49 am
    tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:39 am
    There will be a lot more where that came from. Sam is easily a top 5 QB. If they keep him upright and give him time, the Vikings will be the team to beat in the NFC – as we expected.
    ________________________

    After ONE GAME, against a defense with 5 new starters and who was missing their starting left tackle, the viking faithful have anointed greatness. You are nothing if not predictable.

    ***

    Yes some Viking fans are anointing greatness. Every franchise has some fans who do this. We just let them have their moment.

    I do seem to remember, however, Vikings catching some flak for having three new rookie starters on offense, with 5 new O-Line (including a rookie Center) who have never played a snap together outside of practice.

  14. Good job Sammy Sleeves. Congrats on the win Vikes fans, but you only have at the most 7 more coming. Sammy doesn’t do winning records. No worries, it’s not his fault.Their is always somebody else that gets the blame.

  15. Top 5 QB? Even you don’t really believe that….

    Well, I’m not the only one. Bleacher Report had him as the 6th best QB in their first QB rankings of the season – before week 1. Behind Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees and Wilson. He’s firmly ahead of Ryan, Brees and Wilson in my mind – so, I should have said he’s Top 3.

  16. cobrala2 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Calm down. It’s one game.
    ________________________________________

    One game where he actually had an O-Line. A completely “new” O-line that hasn’t even gelled yet. Could get interesting.

  17. I realize not every here is a football expert. I mean, this site itself had the Vikings ranked 20th in the preseason power rankings. I’ll give you guys some time to see it and believe it for yourself. Just remember, you read it here first about 3 months ago.

  18. Me thinks the Vikes have found their Franchise QB, and Sam found a career home. That Throw to Wright was scary perfect. Sam looked as young and sharp as Erin looked old and done.
    I only hear Crickets from the prolific GB Regular Trolls… Dirty McPansy and Toyota are out paying the Refs for their usual home game gimmes.. That is the only reason the Packers won.. CHOKE…
    Pac opponents in the Playoffs it’s funny how the Packers lose to everyone except Wild Card teams if not at home….
    They should be chanting …GO…REFS GO….. ha, ha,

  19. It’s a different team and year. This team is not last year’s team. Who knows what will happen going forward but each year but can’t say they’re going to be the same as a year before. That’s why every year each team is different and different team go to Super Bowl.

  20. theright0pinion says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:14 am
    Relax… the Saints defense stinks. Many opposing QBs will look like the second coming of Joe Montana against the Saints crappy defense.

    1 0 Rate This

    ——–

    Brady and the Pats are looking to get that taste out of their mouths on Sunday in NOLA.

  21. Lions fan here who bashed Bradford for being too quick to dump passes off and padding his completion %. Yesterday, he looked like Aaron Rodgers at his absolute best. I don’t know if it was one game magic or the new Bradford but he was spectacular.

  22. tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:02 am
    Top 5 QB? Even you don’t really believe that….

    Well, I’m not the only one. Bleacher Report had him as the 6th best QB in their first QB rankings of the season – before week 1. Behind Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees and Wilson. He’s firmly ahead of Ryan, Brees and Wilson in my mind – so, I should have said he’s Top 3

    ——–

    “Firmly” ahead of Ryan, Brees and Wilson? In what Universe?

    Dang….half the Vikings fan-base would put Bridgewater ahead of Bradford.

    Myself, I would put the following ahead of him at a minimum:

    Brady
    Rodgers
    Brees
    Ryan
    Ben R.
    Wilson
    Alex Smith
    Mariota
    Luck
    Derek Carr
    Prescott
    Stafford

    One could even make an argument for the following:

    Flacco
    Eli
    Cousins
    Newton
    Cutler

  23. codythao35 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:20 am
    It’s a different team and year. This team is not last year’s team. Who knows what will happen going forward but each year but can’t say they’re going to be the same as a year before. That’s why every year each team is different and different team go to Super Bowl.

    —–

    What’s happening? Fellow vike fans are turning on ariani and cody is writing coherent and thoughtful comments.

  24. So tired of the Bradford bashing and mocking. oh look at Sammy! He completed a pass its so cute! Stop. He was the first overall pick for a reason and won the heisman for a reason. He suffered terrible injuries and constant coaching and system changes. This is his first year with some semblance of continuity.

    Also, good to see jarius wright back in the mix. Sure it was 1 catch but the guy is a proven product. Glad this team moved on from Johnson.

    And you saw what happens when you don’t have to worry about getting your $15 million a year running back his touches to justify his contract and stroke his ego.

    I don’t expect the Vikings offense to play that well often but it’s nice when they do.

  25. rayfinkle84 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:33 am
    “That’s ridiculous because they don’t throw the deep ball,” said Vaccaro, who said the scouting report on Bradford was that he likes to check down. “For him to drive the field throwing the ball downfield is just unacceptable to me.”

    ——————————-

    If Vaccaro couldn’t see why Bradford had to check down a LOT, he’s truly a clueless player and has no business being a safety in the NFL. If the Saints scouting report couldn’t explain why Bradford needed to check down a LOT, we might have a reason why the Saints have been one of the worst Ds ever, over the last few seasons.

  26. That first sentence of the article is so true. I get so annoyed with the media each and every week wanting to anoint someone as the next greatest_____. Let’s tap the brakes on Bradford and this revamped O until they play a few more games, with this on tape now, teams will prepare for this version of Viking Offense. I was more impressed with the red zone D vs the likes of Brees though. That was huge. Brees typically has the Vikes’ number.

  27. Sam had a great game but let’s not forget that he had a great game against the Packers in his Viking debut last year. Then as the offensive line quickly disintegrated, Sam turned into Checkdown Charlie so that he could preserve his life. It got to the point where he was throwing a 3-yard pass on 3rd and 7 even when he wasn’t under any pressure.

    The key is keeping this offensive line healthy. This line is obviously much better than what they were forced to trot out last year, but they need to continue to grow together and not lose a lot of games to injury. Sam has demonstrated that he has a great arm and incredible accuracy, but no quarterback can be successful if he’s running for his life on 80% of pass plays. I’ve seen games where Tom Brady looked like Scott Tolzien because he was under constant pressure.

    The Vikings have the offensive talent at quarterback, running back, tight end, and receiver so they won’t be limited by those positions. This team will go as far as the offensive line takes them. It was a good start against what is likely a bad defense, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

  28. clownbaby37 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:40 am
    Excited to see how the line plays against Pittsburgh

    39 1 Rate This

    ——–

    Considering Pitt’s D is very mediocre, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m more interested in seeing how Pitt’s overrated offense does against a good Minny D.

  29. tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 10:55 am
    After ONE GAME, against a defense with 5 new starters and who was missing their starting left tackle, the viking faithful have anointed greatness. You are nothing if not predictable.

    Not after one game. Anyone can predict the future after it happens. Those of us who know the sport have been saying all training camp and preseason that the Vikings are the team to beat if Sam stays upright and they don’t get crushed by injuries – again.
    _____________________

    Based on a pre-season where they didn’t score one touchdown??
    Yes, you are basing this on ONE GAME.
    That’s alright, enjoy a good win.
    I hope he stays healthy so there are no excuses later.

  30. He looked great and made some excellent throws and the Vikes are no joke.. but the Saints D ranked 31st last year, 32nd in passing, and it showed.

    So, wait until next week when the 10th-ranked Steeler D visit, or better still when the 9th-ranked Ravens D visit. Even then, those are the highest D’s the Vikes will see in regular season and they get them both at home – all the other Ds they face are middling or poor. We might not really be able to tell how good SamB and this offense is this year until January, but worth a bet if the bookies’ odds are long.

  31. Bradford’s major problem was/is holding on to the ball too long. He’s pretty good if you give him 3.5 seconds…

  32. Yeah, it was a great performance by Bradford, but it’s just one game. Nobody is saying he’s going to do that every week.

    That said, the improved play of the OL was encouraging to see, and the running game actually got going last night as well. The Vikings will get a stiffer test on Sunday in Pittsburgh, and the best match-up in that game will come on the other side of the ball, with Rhodes going up against Antonio Brown (hopefully all game long). But unlike last year’s 5-0 start, much of which was fueled by defensive and special teams TDs, their points last night all came on offense. It’s just one game, but an encouraging start.

  33. For those of you discounting Bradford’s performance because the Saints have a bad defense, I would just point out that (a) Bradford has played against bad defenses before and not done this well, (b) some of those throws were to covered receivers so the accuracy was there regardless of how bad the defense typically is, and (c) other quarterbacks have not played that well against the Saints.

    The quality of the defense is one factor to consider when evaluating a quarterback’s play. It is not a reason to dismiss the quarterback’s performance as meaningless.

  34. streetyson says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:39 am

    So, wait until next week when the 10th-ranked Steeler D visit, or better still when the 9th-ranked Ravens D visit. Even then, those are the highest D’s the Vikes will see in regular season and they get them both at home – all the other Ds they face are middling or poor.
    __________

    Just for the sake of accuracy, I’ll point out that the Vikings are at Pittsburgh next week. A victory there would be a very high quality win.

    Also, you never really know how good a team’s defense is until the season is a few games along. You can’t look at last year’s rankings and expect that they’ll be the same this year. The Packers have historically had a terrible defense and they looked like the ’85 Bears on Sunday.

  35. silvernblacksabbath says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Bradford’s major problem was/is holding on to the ball too long. He’s pretty good if you give him 3.5 seconds…
    _______

    You could say the same thing about Aaron Rodgers. If you have 3.5 seconds, take the 3.5 seconds. The throws didn’t look late last night.

  36. If Sam stays healthy Vikes should be in good shape for a few years. Nice to see a Vikes quarterback give the receiver a chance for a change. Should open up some running room for Cook instead of nine in the box all the time.

  37. tjacks7 says:

    Well, I’m not the only one. Bleacher Report had him as the 6th best QB in their first QB rankings of the season – before week 1. Behind Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees and Wilson. He’s firmly ahead of Ryan, Brees and Wilson in my mind – so, I should have said he’s Top 3.
    ——————————————-
    Bradford was not ranked above Carr. Just stop!

  38. Yes, the Saints D was the worst in the NFL last year. This isn’t last year. They have 8 new starters on D, so who knows what they’ll do for the season. But, the Vikings had the worst O line last year, and have replaced every single starter, and had zero games played together. The O line didn’t all play together in the preseason. After last year, the Vikings O line HAS to be improved, even if they are only second to last. You can’t make the playoffs after game 1, but I’d rather they started and looked the way they did, rather than getting smoked like the Patriots.

  39. However.. the packers offense only managed 17 points, 7 of which were gifted.
    The Viking defense gave up 19… 7 of those was a garbage time TD. I’m liking the Vikings as the better team based off that. But it’s early… looking forward to my team vs yours!

  40. Great game, but the Saints’ D looks like it will be at the bottom of the NFL again this year.

    We’re in bizzaro world today: the Vikes’ offense and the Pack defense each carry their teams to week #1 wins.

  41. Wow. By reading these posts one would assume the Vikings already won their first SuperBowl. I always felt Bradford was twice the quarterback Bridgewater would ever be, and suddenly it’s “Teddy who?”

    Don’t forget…….they started 5-0 last year. I’m not saying they won’t do even better, but it’s one game. A good one………but only one.

  42. purpleguy says:
    September 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    We’re in bizzaro world today: the Vikes’ offense and the Pack defense each carry their teams to week #1 wins.
    __________

    Let’s not forget that the Vikings defense gave up nothing but field goals to one of the best offenses in the league until the game was well in hand. I wouldn’t say the offense carried them. Good all around performance.

  43. Nothing like the halcyon days of September and October for Viking fans. Countless legendary Viking teams have dominated the early fall only to wet and thoroughly soil themselves when the weather gets colder. It was fun watching the child beater whine on the sidelines yesterday though. When does he get inducted into the ring of “honor”?

  44. 4evrnyt says:
    September 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    It’s Bradford, he’ll be on IR by week 9.
    ——————–

    If he wasn’t on it last season, he shouldn’t be on it this season.

  45. Wasn’t this supposed to be a much improved Saints D? Bradford was nearly perfect and Cook had over 120 yards on over 5 yards a carry. The Saints were nowhere–not stopping the pass or the run.

  46. When is the last time the Steelers came to Minneapolis? The NFL gives the Vikings a tough road game on a short week. Thanks Roger.

  47. stellarperformance says:
    September 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Wow. By reading these posts one would assume the Vikings already won their first SuperBowl. I always felt Bradford was twice the quarterback Bridgewater would ever be, and suddenly it’s “Teddy who?”

    Don’t forget…….they started 5-0 last year. I’m not saying they won’t do even better, but it’s one game. A good one………but only one.
    _________

    Imagine a team’s fans feeling optimistic after a solid season-opening victory! The nerve! Why can’t they be like Packer fans and declare themselves inevitable Super Bowl champions before the season even starts?

  48. tjacks7 says:

    Well, I’m not the only one. Bleacher Report had him as the 6th best QB in their first QB rankings of the season – before week 1. Behind Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Brees and Wilson. He’s firmly ahead of Ryan, Brees and Wilson in my mind – so, I should have said he’s Top 3.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    This… coming from a guy SO astute at evaluating QB play, he created that username. Lettuce pray.

  49. In Teddy We Trust says:
    September 12, 2017 at 1:57 pm
    Imagine a team’s fans feeling optimistic after a solid season-opening victory! The nerve! Why can’t they be like Packer fans and declare themselves inevitable Super Bowl champions before the season even starts?
    ///////////////////////////////

    Did you see the PFT Power Rankings today? Do you think Packer fans had any influence on that? Do you think maybe they know something regardless of our opinions?

  50. How can you evaluate the Vikings or Bradford based on a game against a defense that really looked pathetically bad? Wait till week eight.

  51. lambeaudungbarn says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:18 am
    Me thinks the Vikes have found their Franchise QB, and Sam found a career home. That Throw to Wright was scary perfect. Sam looked as young and sharp as Erin looked old and done.
    I only hear Crickets from the prolific GB Regular Trolls… Dirty McPansy and Toyota are out paying the Refs for their usual home game gimmes.. That is the only reason the Packers won.. CHOKE…
    Pac opponents in the Playoffs it’s funny how the Packers lose to everyone except Wild Card teams if not at home….
    They should be chanting …GO…REFS GO….. ha, ha,
    _________________

    You must have missed the Packers going to Dallas and beating the #1 rated Cowboys last year.

    And speaking of playoff choking…

  52. Pack fan here. Congrats to Vikings fans. Bradford was balling big time last night and I like your rookie running back. NFCNorth gave the strongest showing from top to bottom in the first week in the league. Will be a dogfight to the end for the division title.

  53. My favorite part of last night’s game was the standing ovation Laquonda Treadslow got when he caught the 2nd pass of his career. Must have been the presence of the great Randy Moss that inspired young Treadslow to catch another pass.

  54. harry hands says:
    September 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm
    However.. the packers offense only managed 17 points, 7 of which were gifted.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    Harry, Rodgers took 3 kneel downs at the Seattle 25 with 2 minutes to play. Come on now.

  55. Here’s the real litmus test.

    Name as many Seahawks defensive starters you can.

    Now name as many Saints defensive starters you can.

    Now, subtract those Saints starters you didn’t know until yesterday.

    Finally, let the new reality creep in, stir and enjoy.

  56. fmc651 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm
    When is the last time the Steelers came to Minneapolis? The NFL gives the Vikings a tough road game on a short week. Thanks Roger
    ——————————————
    How can you be considered a die hard NFL fan if you don’t even know how the schedule is created EVERY year.

    The NFL schedule is a FORMULA. In fact, we already know who your 2018 opponents are, with the exception of 2 games. The home and away games are also determined by a FORMULA.

    Roger has NO input on the schedule.

  57. aypeeswhippingstick says:

    Nothing like the halcyon days of September and October for Viking fans. Countless legendary Viking teams have dominated the early fall only to wet and thoroughly soil themselves when the weather gets colder.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Short memory?

    Last game of the season at home in Lambeau Field, your Packers (presumptive favorites) wet and soiled themselves against the Vikings in the cold.

    Or how about the first ever Viking/Packer playoff game? Seems to me that your Packers wet and soiled themselves in the cold that January day too.

    You need to understand that the Packers have been looking up at the Vikings in the standings for most of the history of divisional play.

    Many of those seasons, the Packers were mathematically eliminated before Halloween.

    They didn’t to wait for the cold to wet and soil themselves – they started right at the start of the season.

  58. fmc651 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm
    When is the last time the Steelers came to Minneapolis? The NFL gives the Vikings a tough road game on a short week. Thanks Roger

    **

    It has been balanced every time they’ve played since 2001. The London game in ’13 was technically a home game for the Vikes. To which the Vikes won.

  59. The Vikings and GB played teams that both didn’t put too much pressure on what is regarded the teams’ weak side the ball..

    Bradford did have a few nice touch passes but it’s a lot easier tondo when a defender isn’t within four steps of the receiver.

    Muck like Gbs rush looked furious against a Seattle team that still has marginal OL.

    Both teams earned a win and that’s the best you can do after week 1.

  60. tjacks7 says:
    September 12, 2017 at 11:14 am
    I realize not every here is a football expert. I mean, this site itself had the Vikings ranked 20th in the preseason power rankings. I’ll give you guys some time to see it and believe it for yourself. Just remember, you read it here first about 3 months ago.

    Jack: pretty sure you the football expert told us this last year when sammy and the vikes started out so fast….. so you will excuse the lack of belief in your expertise this year either….

  61. Not going to anoint us Champs this early in the season like a moron, I’ll leave that to the Packer fans, but it was clearly a much better game than almost any game they played last year.

    You can say what you want about the OL or the Vikes in general, or Bradford’s durability but those that doubt Bradford’s ability are just ignorant. His accuracy % last season was helped by shorter passes, but Rodgers threw for a lower ypc than Bradford did and Rodgers didn’t go over 70%. If you put Rodgers and Bradford to an accuracy skills throwing test i’d give you 10 to 1 odds that Bradford SMOKES Rodgers. Having said that, Rodgers has other intangibles and better durability that Bradford either doesn’t have (the latter) or hasn’t had the chance to show yet (the former). Only time will tell and that’s one other advantage Bradford has, age.

    Vikes will live or die by the Oline this season and one could argue most teams do by in large part every season. They took a strong stride forward, just need to follow it up about 18 more times.

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