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(Sunday, October 31st)
Final Score: St. Louis 20, Carolina 10
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Rookie Sam Bradford threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and the defense forced four turnovers, as the St. Louis Rams defeated the Carolina Panthers, 20-10, at the Edward Jones Dome.
Bradford completed 25-of-32 throws, while Danny Amendola and Daniel Fells each had a touchdown catch for St. Louis (4-4), which dropped an 18-17 decision at Tamp Bay last Sunday. The Rams have won four straight at home.
"I was able to get some easy completions early in the game," Bradford said. "I got myself into a rhythm for the rest of the game. I just felt very comfortable with what we were doing as an offense. We took a lot of check downs early, then later in the game we took some shots and I thought we got into a nice rhythm."
Steven Jackson, who underwent surgery on Monday to repair a fracture on his left ring finger, rushed 23 times for 59 yards in the win. Brandon Gibson had six catches for 67 yards.
Matt Moore connected on 23-of-37 passes for 194 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for the Panthers (1-6), who rallied for a 23-20 victory over San Francisco last weekend, a win that snapped a five-game losing skid.
"It's tough. We just didn't get it done, you know," Moore said. "We need to keep getting better. After last week we were headed in the right direction, and we just didn't get it done today. We need to go back to the drawing board and go to work."
Steve Smith led the receiving corps with nine grabs for 85 yards. Brandon LaFell caught his first NFL touchdown -- a 17-yard pass late in the fourth quarter. With starting running back DeAngelo Williams out with a foot sprain, the Panthers were held to only 25 yards rushing.
James Laurinaitis' interception early in the opening quarter led to the first scoring chance of the game. After picking off Moore's pass and taking it to the Carolina 37, the Rams offense went three-and-out and Josh Brown's 51-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
St. Louis put the first points up 4:52 into the second quarter when Brown split the uprights from 33 yards out to cap a 13-play, 55-yard drive. Bradford completed 6-of-8 passes during the set, but after guiding his squad to the Panthers' 11-yard line, a holding penalty backed it up 10 yards. Then facing 3rd-and-20 from the 21, the signal-called checked down to Gibson for only a six-yard gain and the Rams had to settle for three.
A Bradford-to-Amendola two-yard touchdown just before the two-minute warning made it a 10-0 game. Starting from their own 45, the Rams quickly moved inside Panthers' territory and St. Louis converted a key 3rd-and-7 when Bradford hit Gibson for eight yards, taking it to the 30. Then with a 3rd-and goal from the two, Bradford threw underneath to Amendola for the score.
John Kasay's 44-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the half got the Panthers on the board to make it 10-3 heading into the break.
Each side exchanged punts twice in a scoreless third quarter, but the Rams forced a turnover and found the end zone in the early stages of the fourth.
With Carolina at its own 46, Moore threw a short pass to Smith, who was fighting for the first down, but had the ball stripped from behind and Chris Long fell on it at the Panthers' 43. St. Louis then proceeded to pick up a first down and three plays later on 3rd-and-18 at the Carolina 23, Bradford rolled right and spotted Fells on a short connection, and the big tight end took it the distance for the touchdown and a 17-3 lead with just under 11 minutes to play.
On the ensuing possession, Moore, throwing under heavy pressure, had his pass deflected and picked off by James Butler, who returned it to the Panthers' 28. The turnover led to Brown's 41-yard effort with 6:35 remaining.
Moore's 17-yard touchdown pass to LaFell cut the Panthers' deficit to 20-10 with 3:37 left. The scoring march covered 80 yards on 12 plays.
The Panthers ensuing onside kick attempt was easily covered by St. Louis, but the Rams went three-and-out after running Jackson into the line three times and were forced to punt.
Carolina then took over on its own two-yard line following the punt with 2:28 on the clock and no timeouts remaining. After picking up a first down, Moore was intercepted by Oshiomogho Atogwe, who returned it to the one with 1:24 left. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for celebrating moved the ball back to the 15 and the Rams took a knee twice to run out the clock.
St. Louis has a bye next week before playing at San Francisco on November 14, while Carolina hosts New Orleans next Sunday...St. Louis honored former wide receiver Isaac Bruce by retiring his No. 80 jersey before the game. Bruce spent the first 14 seasons of his 16-year career with the Rams, playing in 197 games and making 942 catches for 14,109 yards with 84 touchdowns...Laurinaitis finished with a sack and eight total tackles in addition to his interception. Despite the loss, the Panthers are still 10-8 in their regular-season series with St. Louis.
10/31 18:51:00 ET
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