The Carolina Panthers were exactly what the Los Angeles Rams needed to see in order to begin getting things back in order on both sides of the ball.
The defense held Carolina to just 203 yards while Matthew Stafford threw for 253 yards and a touchdown as the Rams outscored the Panthers 17-0 in the second half to come away with a 24-10 victory. The win improves the Rams’ record to 3-3 and they now sit in a three-way tie with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks atop the NFC West.
Things started off pretty slow for the Rams as they totaled just 14 yards on their first two possessions before a 13-play, 73-yard drive in the second was capped off with Stafford finding Allen Robinson for a touchdown to take a 7-3 lead. Even more impressive was that the Rams finished this off despite losing left tackle Joe Noteboom to a torn Achilles at the beginning of the drive.
But on their next drive, Stafford would look for Cooper Kupp, but his pass was tipped and intercepted by Donte Jackson, who would take it back 30 yards for the Panthers’ lone touchdown of the game as they would go into the half with a three-point lead.
But after a three-and-out to start the second half, the Rams would control things from there, scoring on three straight drives to take things over. After a Matt Gay field goal tied things, the Rams would go 80 yards in five plays ending in a 17-yard touchdown run from Ben Skowronek to go up 17-10. That would be followed by a 10-play, 61-yard drive capped off with a 2-yard plunge from Darrell Henderson Jr.
Stafford really shared the ball in this contest as four receivers caught at least four passes with Kupp leading the way of course, but only with a modest 80 yards on seven catches. With Cam Akers away for the team, Henderson took over lead rushing duties with 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
The defense completely shut down Carolina in the second half as well as no one outside of star running back Christian McCaffrey could get anything going. The Rams held the Panthers to 86 yards in the second half with 60 of those coming on their final drive which ended in a Nick Scott interception. Of the Panthers’ 203 total yards, McCaffrey accounted for 158.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the loss of Notebloom hung a shadow over the victory. The Rams are now down four of their five offensive line starters from opening day and six of their top nine offensive linemen overall.
Next up for the Rams
The Rams will enter a much-needed bye week, but things will not be easy when they are back on the field. They will host their rival San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 before heading to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers in Week 9.