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.