ST. LOUIS – While Mike Singletary and Troy Smith squabbled on the sideline, rookie Sam Bradford stayed veteran calm.
The No. 1 overall draft pick helped keep the St. Louis Rams’ playoff drive motoring along, also breaking Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record for completions in a 25-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Eclipsing Manning’s 12-year-old mark was nice. Helping the Rams (7-8) stay on track to end a five-year playoff drought in a winner-take-all game for the NFC West title next week was a much bigger deal.
“I guess it’s pretty cool,” Bradford said of the record. “I’m all fired up about the win. If you don’t get excited for a game like this, you’re probably in the wrong business.”
The Seahawks (6-9) have lost seven of nine after falling 38-15 at Tampa Bay.
“Here we are, going into our last regular-season game, and we control our own destiny,” Bradford said.
The Rams’ defense kept both of the Smiths on the run, sacking Troy Smith and Alex Smith two times apiece. Singletary gave Troy Smith one more series after a heated exchange late in the third quarter, then benched him after the 49ers (5-10) went three-and-out on their first possession of the fourth quarter.
The Rams finished 5-3 at home, the franchise’s first winning record since 2004. They were 2-22 combined the previous three seasons.
The 49ers appeared to sag after missing a chance to take a 17-15 lead late in the third quarter when Jeff Reed shanked a 34-yard field goal attempt.
“I wouldn’t say there was a lot of differences, but you’ve got to give St. Louis credit,” Troy Smith said. “Defensively, they do a lot of things to put the quarterback and team in a not-so-comfortable situation.”
Bradford broke out of a three-game slump of no touchdown passes and five interceptions. He finished 28 for 37 for 292 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Rams 25, 49ers 17
StL—Jackson 1 run (Jo.Brown kick)
SF—Ginn Jr. 78 punt return (Reed kick)
StL—FG Jo.Brown 43
SF—Crabtree 60 pass from T.Smith (Reed kick)
StL—FG Jo.Brown 30
StL—Robinson 3 pass from Bradford (Jo.Brown kick)
SF—FG Reed 47
StL—FG Jo.Brown 28
|Total Net Yards||331||335|
|Time of Poss.||26:52||33:08|
RUSHING—San Francisco, Westbrook 10-40, T.Smith 5-28, Dixon 6-17. St. Louis, Jackson 24-48, B.Gibson 2-15, Karney 1-2, Robinson 1-(minus 5).
PASSING—San Francisco, T.Smith 7-19-1-153, A.Smith 10-15-0-120. St. Louis, Bradford 28-37-0-292.
RECEIVING—San Francisco, Crabtree 6-122, V.Davis 3-70, Walker 3-17, Morgan 2-39, Westbrook 2-3, Ginn Jr. 1-22. St. Louis, Amendola 8-53, Alexander 6-99, B.Gibson 3-69, Fells 3-28, Robinson 3-25, Jackson 3-19, Darby 2-(minus 1).
MISSED FIELD GOALS—San Francisco, Reed 34 (WL).