The Carolina Panthers adavnce to 3-3 for the season after a win over the now 3-4 St. Louis Rams. Cam Newton showed his excellence with only two incomplete passes in the game, but what were the main points to take away and discuss from this game?
1. Short fuses everywhere.
It sure wasn’t a pretty game, things became particularly heated in the second half, Rams defensive lineman Chris Long was ejected from the game after an altercation/melee in the third quarter. Then in the opening 30 seconds of the fourth quarter the Rams conceded two personal fouls for unnecessary roughness, Rams offensive lineman Harvey Dahl was lucky to stay in the game after his behaviour. Steve Smith was being typical Steve Smith and was trash-talking everyone on the St. Louis defence.
2. Carolina’s defence is very underrated.
When discussing the best defences in the league, the Carolina Panthers don’t usually enter that conversation. But with the front seven they have, including Star Lotulelei and Luke Kuechly, the Panthers have the base of a good defensive unit for the next couple of seasons.
3. Bradford’s inconsistency is still here.
Sam Bradford has been under pressure throughout his career, being a number one pick in the draft and a former Heisman trophy winner he has been expected to perform at a high level, throwing a pick-six on the first play of the game but then making some good throws later in the game is typical of a Bradford performance. Brian Quick dropped a certain touchdown in fourth quarter which didn’t help out. Worryingly for Rams fans, Bradford left the game in the fourth with a leg injury which required the quarterback to be carted off the field.
4. Brandon LaFell becoming a bigger part of the Panthers’ offense
Even though he only had 35 yards in today’s game, Brandon LaFell is becoming targeted more and more in Carolina’s offensive plays and is proving himself to be the big play maker in the Panthers receiving corps. Steve Smith has become more of a guy to beat people underneath coverage; he’s not exactly 22-years-old anymore so he beats people with his mind rather than his legs nowdays.
5. How should the Rams use Tavon Austin?
The rookie out of West Virginia is one of the most exciting prospects I've seen, but so far he hasn’t produced at NFL level. He was unlucky today having a long touchdown catch called back for a tripping penalty. Austin is a very dynamic player, his ability to return kicks and punts was proven at college level and he has kept that duty for the Rams, its just I don’t think he should be their number one receiver, he is more used to beating guys deep with his natural pace, rather running the more complicated routes that keep him nearer the line of scrimmage.