Rams head coach Scott Linehan said even though the game was close, his team had a firm grasp of the game. That’s exactly what I thought. Into the third quarter, I thought the Rams looked good, especially on offense. Mark Bulger looked sharp, Stephen Jackson looked explosive, Dante Hall not only had the 84 yard kick return, but he made a couple of catches, even Tory Holt who said he would only be 80% this season coming back from knee surgery, was Bulger’s favorite target with eight catches and a touchdown. Then just like that, two fumbles by Stephen Jackson, who only had two the entire year last season, and the team just came apart and it was vintage Carolina storming back with 20 unanswered points in the final quarter and a half.
Jackson had 58 yards on 18 carries and one catch for 3 yards, his worst outing and first below 100 yards since he totaled 57 yards rushing and receiving last Nov. 19 in a 15-0 loss at Carolina. He was held below 100 yards in only one other game last year.
Steve Smith burned the Rams again with seven catches for 118 yards. Jake Delhomme finished 18-for-27 for 201 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions for Carolina.
Pro-bowl lineman Orlando Pace has a shoulder sprain and the team will learn more on Monday.