Long ejected after long melee in third quarter

Rams’ defensive end Chris Long was ejected with 9 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter following a lengthy scrum with myriad Panthers. Following Greg Olson’s 11-yard reception, there was pushing and shoving from both sides. Long came to the aide of his teammate when he was flagged for a personal foul and disqualified for throwing a punch.

The Panthers capitalized on the penalty with a 31-yard field goal from Gano to make the score 20-5, Panthers.

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The Panthers capitalized with a field goal on another Rams turnover to begin the second quarter.

After Rams’ rookie receiver Tavon Austin coughed up the ball, Graham Gano connected from 37 yards to make the score 10-2.

On the Rams next possession, it appeared the visitors were going to narrow the deficit to one point. Bradford connected with Austin for what would’ve been a 63-yard touchdown pass, but left tackle Jake Long was flagged for tripping to nullify the play. The Rams settled for a 28-yard field goal from Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein to make it a 10-5 game.

While the Rams were within a score of the Panthers, Cam Newton and his offense suddenly awoke and found their rhythm. Newton dumped a short pass to Greg Olsen, who rumbled his way to the Rams’ 36-yard line. Later in the drive, Newton fired a bullet to a wide open Ted Ginn, who was tackled at the 1-yard line before Tolbert bruised his way into the end zone for a touchdown. The score extended the Panthers lead to 17-5.

Turnovers plagued the Rams in the first half. Bradford threw his fourth interception of the season and his second pick six.

***

A critical contest for both St. Louis and Carolina featured little offense and explosive defense in the first quarter.

The Rams ran a play-action fake on their first play from scrimmage, and quarterback Sam Bradford was hit as he threw the ball, which hung in the air before falling into the hands of Panthers’ defensive back Captain Munnerlyn, who ran 45 yards for the pick six.

7-0 Carolina.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Bradford was flushed from the pocket and threw the ball away, turning it over on downs.

But the Rams defense answered. Defensive end Eugene Sims stuffed Panthers’ running back Mike Tolbert in the end zone for the safety to make it a five-point deficit.

Halftime: Rams trail Panthers, 17-5

The Panthers capitalized with a field goal on another Rams turnover to begin the second quarter.

After Rams’ rookie receiver Tavon Austin coughed up the ball, Graham Gano connected from 37 yards to make the score 10-2.

On the Rams next possession, it appeared the visitors were going to narrow the deficit to one point. Bradford connected with Austin for what would’ve been a 63-yard touchdown pass, but left tackle Jake Long was flagged for tripping to nullify the play. The Rams settled for a 28-yard field goal from Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein to make it a 10-5 game.

While the Rams were within a score of the Panthers, Cam Newton and his offense suddenly awoke and found their rhythm. Newton dumped a short pass to Greg Olsen, who rumbled his way to the Rams’ 36-yard line. Later in the drive, Newton fired a bullet to a wide open Ted Ginn, who was tackled at the 1-yard line before Tolbert bruised his way into the end zone for a touchdown. The score extended the Panthers lead to 17-5.

Turnovers plagued the Rams in the first half. Bradford threw his fourth interception of the season and his second pick six.

 

***

A critical contest for both St. Louis and Carolina featured little offense and explosive defense in the first quarter.

The Rams ran a play-action fake on their first play from scrimmage, and quarterback Sam Bradford was hit as he threw the ball, which hung in the air before falling into the hands of Panthers’ defensive back Captain Munnerlyn, who ran 45 yards for the pick six.

7-0 Carolina.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Bradford was flushed from the pocket and threw the ball away, turning it over on downs.

But the Rams defense answered. Defensive end Eugene Sims stuffed Panthers’ running back Mike Tolbert in the end zone for the safety to make it a five-point deficit.

Panthers lead Rams 7-2 after first quarter

A critical contest for both St. Louis and Carolina featured little offense and explosive defense in the first quarter.

The Rams ran a play-action fake on their first play from scrimmage, and quarterback Sam Bradford was hit as he threw the ball, which hung in the air before falling into the hands of Panthers’ defensive back Captain Munnerlyn, who ran 45 yards for the pick six.

7-0 Carolina.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but Bradford was flushed from the pocket and threw the ball away, turning it over on downs.

But the Rams defense answered.

Defensive end Eugene Sims stuffed Panthers’ running back Mike Tolbert in the end zone for the safety to make it a five-point deficit.

 

Rams steamrolling Texans 38-6 after three quarters

St. Louis took a 17-6 lead over Houston into halftime and opened the second half in thrilling fashion.

Up by 11 points, the Rams went for the jugular on their first possession of the second half by marching 80 yards. The drive was capped with a Sam Bradford 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick to make the score 24-6 in favor of the visitors. The connection was Bradford’s third touchdown throw of the game.

Mere seconds later, the Rams struck again. This time via special teams.

Houston’s Keshawn Martin returned the ensuing kickoff up the middle but was hit by Rodney McLeod, who knocked the ball loose and Daren Bates scooped it up and dashed 11 yards for the touchdown to make it a 31-6 Rams lead.

Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub suffered a leg injury late in the quarter, and backup T.J. Yates took over. The Texans were threatening inside the Rams’ 5-yard line when Yates was intercepted by rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree, who sprinted 98 yards for the pick six.

The Rams lead the Texans 38-6 at the end of the third quarter.

Rams Lead Texans 17-6 at Halftime

A pair of touchdown passes and a field goal gave St. Louis a 17-6 lead over Houston at halftime.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford tossed a 2-yard strike to reserve tight end Cory Harkey for an early 7-0 lead.

Greg Zuerlein added a 42-yard field goal to give the visitors a 10-0 advantage.

It appeared as if the Texans were going to trim the deficit on its ensuing possession, which featured a heavy dose of running back Arian Foster. Runs of 23 and 22 yards helped the Texans get inside the the Rams’ 5-yard line. But the Rams defense stood tall and held the Texans to a 20-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 game.

The Rams answered with rookie running back Zac Stacy, who darted 18 yards to the Texans’ 8-yard line before Bradford threw his second touchdown pass of the half, this time a 2-yard bullet to tight end Lance Kendricks. The score gave the Rams a 17-3 lead.

Another strong drive headed by Foster had the Rams on their heels once more. But the Rams didn’t fold, holding the Texans to their second field goal of the afternoon.

 

***

Houston was penalized seven times for 95 yards in the first half.

 

 

Rams Looking For First October Road Win Since 2008

The baseball Cardinals are the epitome of October excellence. Seldom are they not winning when the leaves turn. As far as football is concerned, the Rams go into hibernation, having only three wins in October over the past three years.

The local nine come up clutch on the road in October. The Rams haven’t won a road game this month since 2008 when they squeaked past Washington, 19-17.

To put things in perspective, Marc Bulger was under center.

The Rams (2-3) will look to mirror their brethren Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.

Season highs in both rushing yards (143) and turnovers forced (3) headed the Rams to their second victory of the season last week against dreadful Jacksonville. The 34-20 triumph featured Sam Bradford throwing three touchdowns, the second time the fourth-year quarterback has accomplished that feat this season.

Can the Rams turn in an encore performance against a stingy Texans defense? Head coach Jeff Fisher certainly hopes so. But it wont be easy, considering the Texans boast the best passing defense in the league, allowing just over 134 yards per game.

“We’ve got to run the football to score points,” Fisher said, following Wednesday’s practice. “We’ve got to be smart and stay balanced and win the one-on-one matchups.”

Bradford, who was 19-of-34 for 222 yards and three touchdowns last week, said the Texans present a big challenge for the Rams offense.

“They’re very good as a whole,” Bradford said. “They don’t really have a weakness. Obviously, handling (defensive end) J.J. Watt and the guys that they have up front … they do a great job getting after the quarterback. They play tight coverage on the outside too, so it’s going to be a group effort this week.”

Watt, who led the league with 20.5 sacks last season, has 3.5 thus far in 2013. Linebacker Whitney Mercilus leads the team with 4.5.

More importantly, however, will be the Rams ability to halt the Texans’ running attack led by Arian Foster and Ben Tate, who average over 133 yards per game. In last week’s 34-3 loss at San Francisco, Foster rushed for 98 yards on 21 carries, while Tate gained 28 yards on seven carries.

But that was against a 49ers club that allows 3.7 yards per carry. The Rams – the league’s worst rushing defense – allow nearly five yards touch.

“It’s their scheme,” Fisher said. “It’s different than most. Got to keep everybody honest and everybody on their feet. They’re hard to get down in one-on-one situations.”

Despite Foster’s longest run of the season being 17 yards, he’s still a vital threat to the Rams, along with Tate, whose longest run of 60 yards came against Tennessee in which the Texans clung to a 30-24 overtime win.

The key for the Rams will be how effective Bradford is in the pocket. If he gets time and protection, the Rams will be able to move the football. If not, it could be a long day in Texas.

“I’ve got to be decisive and get the ball out of my hand quickly,” Bradford said.

Will the Rams finally break through on the road in October, or will we continue to see a winless autumn on the road?