Rams vs. Bills: Sam Bradford's Game-Winning Drive Keeps Dim Playoff Hopes Alive

Tyson Langland@TysonNFLNFC West Lead WriterDecember 9, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 9: Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams throws a pass during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 9, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

After winning two straight games, the Rams were 5-6-1, which suddenly inched them that much closer to the playoffs. But Jeff Fisher's club knew it would have to win its final four games to get there, not to mention that three of those game were on the road—a daunting task for any young team.

Yet, quarterback Sam Bradford said no road challenge was too tough for this team. And he proved that Sunday, leading the Rams on a 14-play, 84-yard, game-winning drive to defeat the Buffalo Bills, 15-12,

As usual Bradford didn't have the strongest game statistically as he only threw for 209 yards on 19-of-39 passing, but his fourth-quarter heroics overshadowed that.

Nice Bradford 22-yarder to Kendricks. Bradford ranks 3rd in 4th-quarter Total QBR behind Cutler and P.Manning this season.

— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@espn_nfcwest) December 9, 2012

Even though I'm not a huge supporter of ESPN's QBR rating system, Bradford's fourth-quarter numbers speak for themselves. Today's comeback victory marked the third time this season he has led a game-winning drive.

In Week 2 against the Redskins, he led an 11-play, 65-yard drive that ended with 39-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal. Against the 49ers 10 weeks later, he was at it again, orchestrating a seven-play, 22-yard that drive that led to a 53-yard Zuerlein field goal. 

However, Sunday's victory proved to be one of a kind for Bradford. It signaled the first time in his young career that he led a game-winning drive that ended in a touchdown instead of a field goal. At times, people n dog him because of poor decision-making. But without him, there's no question this team would be in a lot worse shape.

Although Bradford shouldn't get all the praise. Wide receiver Brandon Gibson made tough catch after tough catch in the second half and finished with six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. In the fourth quarter alone, he caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Gibson's 100-yard game was the first time he has eclipsed the century mark this season.

Heading into Week 15, the Rams are winners of three in a row and will host a Minnesota Vikings team that defeated the Bears on Sunday after losing consecutive games in Weeks 12 and 13.

At 7-6, Minnesota is ninth in the NFC playoff race, one spot ahead of the Rams. A victory over the Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome would help the Rams keep their playoff hopes alive. A Bears loss to the Packers next Sunday would help their even cause more.

Weeks ago fans thought this team was doomed at 3-6-1. How quickly things can change.


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