Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bradford Burns Secondary with Big Plays; Vikings QB Has Three Completions of 40-Plus Yards

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bradford Burns Secondary with Big Plays; Vikings QB Has Three Completions of 40-Plus Yards

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

Expecting the same dink-and-dunk passer he saw while watching film, Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson was shocked by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford's aggressiveness on Sunday.

The rest of the team's secondary played like they were stunned, too.

The usually conservative Bradford was nowhere to be found at EverBank Field and instead had success while completing three passes of more than 40 yards to lead the Vikings to a 25-16 victory.

"You come in and you look and, 'You say this is what it is going to be,'" Gipson said. "Complete opposite. The first play of the game, he's throwing a 40-yard bomb down the sideline. He threw more vertical passes than check-downs and short routes. I tip my hat off to him. Good quarterback, good play. He came out and he played. He lit the secondary up."

Bradford finished 24-of-34 passing for 292 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Not a jaw-dropping day, but it was unusual to see the usually cautious quarterback take deep drops in the pocket and air out long passes on several occasions.

Bradford entered the game ranked 27th in the league with an average of 6.77 yards per attempt and had completed just two passes of more than 40 yards all season.

His first against the Jaguars came on the opening play of the game.

With pressure in his face, Bradford shuffled around in the pocket and launched a pass down the right sideline to tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 44-yard completion as he was hit by defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien was in coverage but couldn't keep the pass from sailing over his head.

"I lost the ball," Cyprien said. "I misjudged it, and it ended up going over my head. I slowed down because I thought it was a contested throw and I could make a play on it. Of course it is frustrating."

Bradford came out firing again on the next drive and connected with receiver Adam Thielen on a route down the left sideline past cornerback Prince Amukamara for 41 yards. …

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