It started bad, then it was worse, and finally it became a disaster. The snowstorm turned into an avalanche as the Rams lost to the Carolina Panthers 30-15 to fall to 3-4 losing their franchise quarterback in the process.
There was just that feeling that this was going to be one of those games where everything that could go wrong would go wrong for the Rams. From the first play on a pass that got intercepted and taken for a touchdown, you just knew this was going to be one of those games.
The Rams moved the ball well for the most part of the game against a Panthers defense that is said to be one of the best in the league. Like usual though penalties, play calling, and poor execution were the downfall for the Rams.
On the Rams second drive they drove the ball down to the half yard line only to throw it off of play action of 4th and goal, the Tavon Austin caught a 63 yard touchdown reception only to get it called back for a “tripping” penalty on Jake Long.
At the end of the first half the Rams had out gained the Panthers, but only had a safety and field goal. The Rams were down 17-5 even though it felt like they should have had the lead.They had done everything you shouldn’t do on the road; turn the ball over and fall behind early. The Panthers had 10 points on two Rams turnovers.In the first half the Rams offense was hurting themselves and leaving points off the board. Meanwhile the defense had not played too bad.
On the Panthers first drive in second half is when things really started to get interesting. These teams are old NFC West rivals and did they play like it. The game was chippy all game and add that to bad officiating, and you might get a brawl on your hand, and that’s exactly what happened.
5:15 into the Panthers first drive a brawl broke loose and guess who was right in the middle of it? Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith who has always been known to cause some trouble, much like a Cortland Finnegan.
Punches were thrown, helmets were thrown off, and the officials had lost control. After 15 seconds of the mess the officials finally threw flags, on one player, Chris Long. Chris Long got the only unsportsmanlike penalty, and got ejected. Long left the field with Panther fans throwing things at him and yelling, more than likely, obscenities. It was certainly surprising that their weren’t at least off-setting penalties and multiple ejections. Instead Long took the fall.
The Panthers scored a field goal and the Rams came out and made a statement by scoring a touchdown on a drive that only took three plays and included a 73 yard pass from Sam Bradford to Brian Quick. The drive was capped off by Zac Stacy scoring his first NFL touchdown on a pass reception from Sam Bradford to make the score 20-12.
The offense had made a statement an made it a one score game. It was up to the defense to make a stop and then they began to make similar mistakes the offense had been making in the first half. Trumaine Johnson got called for a holding penalty that gave the Panthers an automatic first down right after the Rams had stopped Newton short. The Panthers would go on to score a touchdown and put the game out of reach.
Where the game became a disaster is where every team hopes things dont become a disaster, in garbage time. Thats exactly what happened as in garbage time with the Rams down 30-15, Bradford pulled the ball down and took it himself. While running out of bounds Mike Mitchell pulled Bradford down and Bradford looked to be in severe pain with a knee injury.
You can only hope for the best, but at this point it doesnt look good for the Rams and Sam Bradford. After Bradford’s injury Harvey Dahl got into it and chased after Mitchell. This is a close team and it looks like they may have a long, tough road ahead.
Bradford was having a good day throwing for 255 yards on 21 of 30 completions and Zac Stacy had another good day running the ball 17 times for 53 yards. Brian also came three yards short of his first career 100 yard game.
Looking at the defensive stats you wouldve thought the Rams would have kept the Panthers in check. Newton only threw for 204 yards and DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert combined for only 76 yards.
The Rams lost a heartbreaking game today, not because of the score, but because of the actions on the field. The Rams had 5 personal fouls and played like a young undisciplined team. You have to think they were embarrassed for how they played and how immature they played.
Youre going to have problems like this with a young team, but there has to be a point to where it becomes excessive and that was definitely the case today. The Rams fell to 3-4, lost to another NFC opponent, and may have lost their franchise quarterback for the rest of the season. On the bright side, they didnt have a special teams penalty.