In a demoralizing, gut-wrenching and possibly season-ending defeat, the St. Louis Rams were outfought by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
It started off well. The offense moved the ball productively and didn't allow the Panthers' to do the same. Through nearly four quarters, the defense did all that they could to give the offense a chance to win.
But the good feelings faded quickly, much like an overthrown ball on an out-route on fourth-and-goal inches away from the end zone.
The Rams are 3-4 with a five-game stretch ahead that would make the Greatest Show on Turf nervous, kicking off one week from now on national television against the daunting Seattle Seahawks. It's fun to be a Rams fan.
While we dwell in our sadness and anger, head on down to some links to help pass the time.
Loss of Bradford will be devastating - To put it simply, Sam Bradford is the single most important player on the Rams' roster. He continues to take a lot of criticism for up-and-down play, but was having easily his best year of his career. Without Sam -- and with Kellen Clemens -- at quarterback, finishing 3-13 appears all too likely. Bradford's season is now over, as is likely the entire team's.
The Rams do fear Sam Bradford has a torn ACL but obviously will wait on MRI tonight to determine the specific knee injury, per sources.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 21, 2013
Rams QB Sam Bradford tore his ACL. He's out for year...— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2013
Rams knocked out in Carolina scuffle - Call it what you want -- immature violence, a street fight, UFC -- but what it all eventually comes down to is the Rams let this one get away from them. Playing Cortland Finnegan-style football, Panthers receiver Steve Smith and Co. played mind games with St. Louis, forcing them to make dumb mistakes and lose focus.
This was a game that the Rams needed to win, but like so many others, they proved incapable of capitalizing in key moments. Eventually, this team will learn to stop beating themselves and/or be the ones to pay off the officials.
Seriously, why do referees hate Tavon Austin? Just let him make a play once, please?
The winning streak is over - More from StLouisRams.com.
Post-game report card - Following last week's contest in Houston, the Rams earned nearly flawless marks. It was quite the opposite in week seven. Penalties and dropped balls (I know, right?) erased positive efforts on offense, while the defense let the game get away from them in the end. Coach Fisher's Rams are living up to their "thug" persona in the wrong way.
Tempers flare - Football is a game of contact and physicality, one in which emotions are sure to get the better of players in certain times, particularly when they're on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Still, football is a team sport. That means sticking up for the man next to you and defending your teammates, but it also means not making bad decisions that put their efforts in jeopardy. Regardless, though, we approve of Harvey Dahl.
Nick Wagoner's reaction - The run defense looked vastly improved, but composure is a trait which the Rams do not possess. A gift-wrapped interception for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage is the worst possible way to start a game.
Rams discuss signing Tebow - No. Just no. Where is Vince Young?
Long ejected for throw a punch - Chris Long was by no means the only player to be penalized for extracurricular activities in yesterday's game, but he received the brunt of the punishment, getting ejected in the third quarter. He apologized to fans via Twitter.
Steve Smith is mad - Carolina receiver Steve Smith, a renowned trash-talker with a Napoleon complex, doesn't care for the Rams, particularly corner back Janoris Jenkins. Not satisfied with the pushing and shoving from yesterday, Smith would rather punch Jenkins in the mouth should they meet again. More from ESPN, and a transcript from Smith's post-game interview. Apparently Jenkins believes that he's Deion Sanders.
NFL.com Game Center - Why you would put yourself through it again, I do not know. Nonetheless, here is your source for all of the stats and
highlights antics from yesterday's game.
CBS 2014 NFL mock draft - Why not? Dane Brugler and Rob Rang have the Rams upgrading on both sides of the ball.
49ers top Titans 31-17 - This game was not nearly as close as the scoreboard suggests, as San Francisco boasted a shutout until well into the third quarter. The 'Niners (5-2) remain one game behind the 6-1 Seahawks in the NFC West.
Stay classy, Steve Smith.
Get well soon, Sam Bradford.