Rams vs. Panthers 2013: Carolina takes big step forward in hard-fought win

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The injury to Sam Bradford was the main takeaway from the game, but the Panthers made a huge step forward this season with the gritty win.

A heated game between the Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams on Sunday showcased two teams heading in opposite directions. The Panthers turned in their second straight decisive victory in the 30-15 win, while the Rams lost their starting quarterback for the season with a torn ACL.

Sam Bradford landed awkwardly on his left knee after being shoved out of bounds in the fourth quarter, and it overshadowed all the other problems the Rams had in the game. St. Louis struggled with their emotions, getting hit with five personal foul penalties and defensive end Chris Long was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.

Meanwhile, the Panthers won back-to-back games for the first time this season and Cam Newton looked every bit the part of a floor general with his second consecutive solid game. James Dator with Cat Scratch Reader wrote that the resolve the Panthers showed in the gritty game was a big step forward.

Sunday's game between the St. Louis Rams and Carolina Panthers was one of the grimiest wins in franchise history, and it was glorious.

Reaching a .500 mark of 3-3 is nothing to write home about, but the significance of Sunday's win was far more about what the victory meant, rather than what it achieved. Looking at it from a macro level it was simply the Panthers winning a game they should have against a similarly talented team, but it was about getting into a dirty, bloody street fight and showing this Carolina team has the edge to play with confidence.

Douglas M of Turf Show Times is lamenting the loss of the Rams' quarterback, but looking at the long picture have only good things to say about Bradford's character.

With all this, Sam Bradford has remained classy beyond his years, and it's why - when he was injured - Rams fans took it so very hard, and rightly so. This season, he came out of the starting blocks like the rest of the team. Young, talented and excitable to the point that blocking the front or back of an opposing player was all one, the team had growing pains. When the team faltered, the crush of fan dismay fell on Bradford's wide shoulders. Surely the reason ROOKIE Tavon Austin hasn't score 38 touchdown in the first weeks of the season was that over-hyped, over-paid, Sam Bradford? How hard is to catch the ball? It must be that damn un-elite bastard at quarterback? Taken in stride with all he's been through to date, Sam looked reporters squarely in the eyes and said his team would get better, and never threw a teammate under the bus for miscues. He believes in his team and coaches, and I can't help but think it's why guys like Harvey Dahl went nuts when his young field general lay writhing in pain on the sidelines this past Sunday. This injury to a young man Rams fans all like, respect and admire, hit them hard. It should, because Sam Bradford is the kind of goofy kid we all like and want to call friend.

The Rams play host to the Seattle Seahawks in a division game on Monday Night Football next week. The Panthers get the opposite of long rest and head to Tampa Bay to take on the winless Buccaneers in Thursday Night Football.

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