NFL Final: St. Louis Rams Beat Carolina Panthers, 20-10

A week after a disappointing loss to the Buccaneers, Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams get back to .500.

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NFL Final: Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams Beat Carolina Panthers 20-10

The St. Louis Rams returned to .500 with a decisive 20-10 win against the Carolina Panthers, thanks to an outstanding performance from rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and a defense that held the Panthers back whenever their offense managed to get on the field.

Bradford, who was just 13 of 26 last week against the San Diego Chargers, was 25 of 32 against the Panthers, picking up two touchdowns and no interceptions on 191 yards passing. Steven Jackson, limited by a finger surgery earlier in the week, still carried the ball 23 times for 59 yards.

With Danario Alexander the latest Rams wide receiver to miss significant time, the question marks about who’d catch the ball were answered this week — everybody. Brandon Gibson led the way, with six receptions for 67 yards including a game-high 33. Danny Amendola caught six balls as well, including a touchdown; Daniel Fells picked up the other.

The Rams’ defense forced four turnovers in the Panthers’ 23 minutes of possession. James Laurinaitis and Chris Long picked up a sack; Long forced one fumble and recovered another, while Laurinaitis, OJ Atogwe and James Butler all picked off Panthers quarterback Matt Moore, who struggled in his second start since replacing rookie Jimmy Clausen under center.

Moore was 23 of 37 with 194 yards passing, one touchdown and three interceptions. Jonathan Stewart ran the ball 14 times for just 30 yards; the offense as a whole had 17 carries for 25 yards.

A suffocating defense and an incredibly efficient offense — the Rams couldn’t have done anything more in the course of improving to 4-4.

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St. Louis Rams Push Lead To 20-3, Eat Four Minutes Of Clock Following Interception

After the Rams’ second interception of the afternoon put their offense back on the field right after Sam Bradford’s second touchdown made it 17-3, the Rams began using up clock with a vengeance, using up nearly four minutes in a drive that saw Josh Brown kick two 41-yard field goals. The second one counted, giving the Rams a 20-3 lead with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of their contest with the Carolina Panthers.

The drive began after Matt Moore was intercepted for the second time this afternoon—after a hot end to the first half Moore is just 13-for-22 with 96 passing yards and two interceptions. From there Bradford continued to be deadly accurate, and Steven Jackson continued to pound the ball up the middle. After a 41-yard field goal at the 8:30 mark was nullified by a defensive offsides penalty the Rams ran another two minutes down before ending up, thanks to a penalty of their own, at the exact spot they were before.

Josh Brown kicked another 41-yard field goal and the Rams held a three-score lead over the Carolina Panthers.

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Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams Unleash The Deep Ball, Score Second Touchdown Of Afternoon

After spending much of the game in a cautious mode necessitated by their thin receiving corps, Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams looked downfield in the fourth quarter and increased their lead to 17-3. Bradford, who’s now 23-for-30 with 182 yards passing and two touchdowns, first got the Rams in the red zone on a 33 yard pass deep to Brandon Gibson, who now has five passes for 61 yards.

After penalties and a Steven Jackson run stopped behind the line of scrimmage put the drive at risk, Bradford and tight end Daniel Fells put together a 23-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown was Bradford’s 11th of the season and Fells’s second. After beginning the season with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions, Bradford has four against zero in his last two games.

After a first half in which he put together 102 yards on 22 attempts, Bradford’s now 5-for-8 with 80 passing yards in the second half. His passer rating is 113.5.

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NFL Update: Michael Hoomanawanui Returns After Leaving With Injury In Second Quarter

The last thing the St. Louis Rams need is another injury to their receiving corps, and it looks like recently returned tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, who left the game in the second quarter with an apparent arm injury, won’t be the next player on the list. Hoomanawanui was targeted again to start the fourth quarter; the pass was completed for four yards, but ruled incomplete when Danny Amendola was called for offensive pass interference.

Hoomanawanui, a fifth round pick from the University of Illinois in the 2010 NFL Draft, has six receptions for 44 yards in a short career that’s already been interrupted by injury—he’s played in four of the Rams’ eight games. He’s one of a corps of tight ends that’s proved increasingly important to Sam Bradford, who’s looked to them for all manner of short passes when his decimated receiving corps can’t get into position downfield.

Hoomanawanui also has no shortage of nicknames, which is reason enough to hope he’s healthy—he’s both “Uh Oh” and “Illinois Mike” to people who don’t want to attempt to pronounce his name, which is both difficult to spell and not spoken at all like it’s spelled.

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St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers Trade Stops In Third Quarter

The Carolina Panthers returned the ballhog favor in the third quarter, after the St. Louis Rams maintained possession for much of the first half, holding the ball for nine minutes after they managed just eight in the entire first half, but neither team scored in a quarter where drives just couldn’t maintain momentum past midfield.

The reemergence of the Panthers’ running game could prove important in the fourth quarter; after -5 yards rushing in the first half Jonathan Stewart improved to 25 yards on 12 carries. The Rams also tried again to get Steven Jackson going—he now has 15 carries for 48 yards.

The Panthers’ punt return in the last minute was perhaps the biggest play of the quarter—Captain Munnerlyn returned a 57 yard Donnie Jones punt for 31 yards to put the Panthers in solid field position entering the fourth quarter. But the Panthers’ drive was interrupted at midfield by a fumble forced by Craig Dahl and recovered by Chris Long.

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NFL Halftime: St. Louis Rams-Panthers Game Dominated By Rams' Short-Passing Attack

A week after rookie quarterback Sam Bradford went just 13-for-26 in a heartbreaking loss to the San Diego Chargers, the St. Louis Rams appear to have found a solution to his accuracy problem: Don’t let him thrown downfield, ever. Despite losing Danario Alexander, Bradford’s now an impressive 18-for-22 with an unimpressive 102 yards through the first half of the team’s home contest with the Carolina Panthers.

With Donnie Avery, Mark Clayton, and Danario Alexander all sidelined, Bradford has hit five different receivers for at least two receptions—Laurent Robinson and Danny Amendola lead the way with four and five, respectively. Steven Jackson, questionable all this week after a finger surgery on Monday, has struggled; his line stands at 12 carries for 37 yards, including a long of 14.

But the Rams’ short game has been so effective that the Panthers’ offense could barely take the field for much of the first half. They ended up with just eight minutes of possession time through the first half, including a blazing last drive that saw them cover 43 yards in 1:30. The Rams have completely neutralized their running game—the Panthers’ total rushing yards stand at -5—but quarterback Matt Moore, who took over last week from rookie Jimmy Clausen, has made the most of his second start in a row, going 8-for-11 with 64 yards and an early interception.

The Rams will be hard-pressed to smother the Panthers’ offense as effectively again as they did in the first half, but if Sam Bradford continues to complete 80% of his passes, or Steven Jackson emerges as a force like he’s been for three weeks now, they won’t need to. For now, the score stands at 10-3, Rams.

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Carolina Panthers Storm Downfield For Late Field Goal, Trail 10-3

After remaining stuck in neutral on offense for much of the first half of their match-up with the St. Louis Rams the Carolina Panthers stormed downfield for a late field goal, narrowing the gap to 10-3. Quarterback Matt Moore, who’d had just five passing attempts all afternoon, immediately threw three consecutive completions for 39 yards to get them in field goal range, including two for 31 yards to much-maligned wide receiver Steve Smith.

From there the Rams’ defense finally found its footing, but the Panthers were near enough for John Kasay, who sank a 44-yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the first half. The Panthers had covered 43 yards in just a minute and a half after picking up just 15 in the first 28 minutes of game-time, and Matt Moore had shown once more the form that pushed him back ahead of Jimmy Clausen on this rebuilding team’s depth chart.

The Rams’ kick return was botched by a penalty and they took a knee, leaving the score 10-3 at halftime.

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St. Louis Rams-Panthers: Sam Bradford Dinks And Dunks Downfield For Touchdown, Rams Lead Panthers 10-0

With two minutes left in the second quarter Sam Bradford’s line is that of the consummate dinker and dunker: It’s taken him 22 attempts to get to 102 passing yards and his first touchdown of the afternoon, a two-yard jot to Danny Amendola, but he’s completed 18 of those passes. His passer rating stands at 101.1 through the first half.

Starting at the Rams’ 45 he began a seven minute touchdown drive that involves six completions, including a game-high 16-yard connection with Laurent Robinson, who leads the team with four receptions through the first quarter. Steven Jackson’s been relatively ineffective—he has 11 carries for 34 yards—and the Rams have responded by riding Sam Bradford’s newfound accuracy, even if it means 4.5 yards per attempt.

The Panthers’ offense remains stagnant, but it’s not all their fault—thanks to the Rams’ slow-and-steady offense they’ll have just eight minutes with the football in this first half. Matt Moore had just five pass attempts before the two-minute warning, and Jonathan Stewart just four carries (for one yard.)

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NFL Update: St. Louis Rams Offense Quiet After First Quarter

The St. Louis Rams and the Carolina Panthers were both quiet through the first quarter of their week eight matchup at the Edward Jones Dome Sunday. Sam Bradford was 12-for-15 for just 58 yards, while Matt Moore made just three pass attempts—one of them an interception—coming off the biggest game of his career in week seven.

The Rams defense has been striking through the game’s first 20 minutes, allowing the Panthers just 16 yards of total offense. The Panthers have six carries for -5 yards rushing. The Rams offense also has something to do with that—they’ve dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for nearly 15 minutes to the Panthers’ six. The name of the game has been short passes; Just two of Bradford’s 14 completions, alread more than last week’s total, have been for more than seven yards.

Josh Brown’s 33 yard field goal put the Rams on the board for the first points of the game, capping off a seven minute-long drive that covered just 55 yards.

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