Well, it was sloppy early and took the ground game to finish things late, but the result is all that matters.
It’s not the game QB Jared Goff wanted. He threw two interceptions, though the Panthers only caught one of them in a performance very reminiscent of the Rams’ Week 1 affair last year against the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately though, Goff got a Week 2 game against a very soft Arizona Cardinals team to recalibrate things. This year, it’s the New Orleans Saints coming to LA in Week 2. No rest for the weary.
The real story of the game offensively though was the ground game. RB Todd Gurley was restricted in his work today, but he was the engine in the last two drives powering a touchdown drive that ended with a toss to TE Tyler Higbee and then finishing out the game with a first down on the ground to run out the clock. His two fumbles would have stood out much more had either been recovered by the Panthers. Perhaps more interesting though was the workload for RB Malcolm Brown. He logged 11 carries for 52 yards and two touchdowns in the first legitimate jobshare with Gurley of his career. Obviously, we’re going to be hearing and talking about that this week.
On defense, it was a pretty solid showing overall. The Rams really clamped down in the secondary, and QB Cam Newton clearly struggled to find room therein to operate. Up front though, the Panthers spent plenty of resources to keep DL Aaron Donald out of the backfield and the Rams had little to show for it. LB Clay Matthews picked up a sack on a blown playcall, and two offensive line misassignments both of which were due to overprotecting Donald led to sacks for EDGE Dante Fowler Jr. Otherwise, there was little to no edge rush, and that has to be concerning moving forward. LB Cory Littleton was fantastic though flying all over the field and picking off a pass from Newton.
In terms of process, it was pretty ugly at times. It certainly wasn’t the performance to make everyone feel great about the state of things heading into Week 2, but the Rams head home with the W having beaten what could turn out to be a pretty good Panthers team on the road.