Lack of offensive rhythm left Sam Bradford out of sorts in loss

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A year ago, in Sam Bradford's Week 1 start for the Minnesota Vikings, he gave a lesson in efficiency.

He completed 27 of 32 passes for an efficiency rating of 84.4 percent, while throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns.

What a difference a year makes.

On Sunday, Bradford's performance was nearly the polar opposite. He completed just 20 of 34 passes -- 58.8 percent -- for 153 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in the Arizona Cardinals' season-opening 24-6 loss to Washington.

Almost everything that could've gone wrong for Bradford, did.

He was sacked twice. His interception came on an overthrow. He threw a potential touchdown pass too low. The Bradford who faced Washington wasn't the same Bradford who was precise and efficient all preseason, or the one who his teammates gushed about all summer.

"Physically, I felt fine," Bradford said. "I just felt like I never really got into a rhythm, as well."

And that wasn't all his fault.

Once the Cardinals trailed 7-0, they soon abandoned the run and tried to rely on the passing game to catch up. The offense then slowed to a halt.

"Very disappointing performance," coach Steve Wilks said.

After the game, Wilks, who was "very" surprised at how the game played out, thought Bradford did "some good things." But a deeper take wasn't going to be available until Monday afternoon, after Wilks watched the film.

"It's hard to really say and determine based off the outcome," Wilks said. "Got to go back and really watch the film, but, again, when you get behind like that and you can't get into a rhythm, it's always tough."

At halftime, Arizona's offense was an even seven passes and seven rushes.

But being down 21-0 at the intermission forced offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to shake things up. Bradford attempted 27 passes in the final two quarters, completing 17 while only eight runs were called.

"We came out in the second half, and in our second or third drive, we're in no-huddle, trying to get back in it," Bradford said. "We have to figure out how to get points earlier. We have to figure out a way to convert third downs. I think third downs are obviously the biggest issues moving forward."

Arizona converted 1 of 8 third downs.

Bradford said his accuracy issues could've been due to his footwork or timing, both of which he felt were abnormal problems for him.

"Obviously, that's a little uncharacteristic of my game so definitely will watch the film [Monday] and see where that came from," he said.

Bradford stressed the importance of not letting Sunday's loss beat Arizona twice with the Los Angeles Rams next on the schedule. The rest of the week will be spent trying to fix the mistakes, Wilks said. First up: Details. Wilks said Wednesday's practice will focus on fundamentals and techniques.

But Wilks was adamant that Sunday's loss will not define the Cardinals' season, an edict that Bradford reiterated.

There are 15 more weeks for Arizona to do that. First, though, is to help Bradford be Bradford, wide receiver Fitzgerald said.

"Sam is what we know he is," Fitzgerald said. "He's a pinpoint passer, he's very intelligent, he makes great reads and he can make the throws. We have to do a good job getting open, creating separation and making his job easier, and obviously not getting behind and being able to execute on third down would help a lot."