LOS ANGELES (AP) – Cam Newton persevered through five sacks to pass for 225 yards and a touchdown, and the Carolina Panthers’ defense shut down Los Angeles in a 13-10 victory over the slumping Rams on Sunday.
Greg Olsen caught a touchdown pass in the first half and Graham Gano added two fourth-quarter field goals for the Panthers (3-5), who won their second straight after a four-game skid. Newton’s offense managed just 244 yards against the Rams’ vaunted defense, but the Panthers nearly shut out Los Angeles in a defense-dominated game.
Case Keenum passed for 296 yards for the Rams (3-5), who have lost four straight after a strong start to their homecoming season. Los Angeles’ scoreless streak reached 102 minutes, 12 seconds before Greg Zuerlein’s 25-yard field goal with 8:01 to play.
Kenny Britt then made a 10-yard touchdown catch with 34 seconds to play, but Zuerlein curiously quick-kicked the kickoff far down the field, essentially ending the game.
Newton went 20 for 32 and took his share of big hits again after his complaints about the NFL’s commitment to player safety dominated headlines last week. The star quarterback spoke with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to voice his worries.
Newton went down from a violent sack by Mark Barron in the third quarter, and he was downed for two important sacks by star defensive lineman Aaron Donald.
The Coliseum crowd chanted “We want Goff!” during the first half of another dispiriting offensive performance in the Rams’ return from their bye week. No. 1 pick Jared Goff remained on the bench even after Keenum threw his eighth interception in four games to Thomas Davis, killing a solid drive in the second half.
Neither team managed much production in a defense-dominated first half, combining to miss three long field goals and getting just seven first downs apiece. Olsen scored the only touchdown on a 9-yard catch .
Keenum went 27 for 46 for the Rams, who hadn’t scored a touchdown in 115 minutes, 41 seconds before Britt’s grab.
The Rams’ offensive slump reached another valley. Los Angeles failed to score in the final 50 minutes of its loss to the Giants in London before the bye, and it played three more scoreless quarters against Carolina.
The Rams finally got moving in the fourth, but Lance Kendricks dropped a sure touchdown pass from Keenum at the goal line on third down, forcing a field goal.
Todd Gurley had 48 yards in another quiet game, although he broke his longest run of the season for 18 yards out of the wildcat in the first half. Last season’s offensive rookie of the year watched the Rams’ final series from the sideline while Benny Cunningham played.
After a series of missed throws by Keenum, the “We want Goff!” chant began in the west end zone and spread around the stadium during the second quarter. The Rams still haven’t used their franchise QB, even after Goff got extra time with the Rams’ first-team offense during their bye.
Rams CB Trumaine Johnson returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained ankle. … Rams DB Lamarcus Joyner left in the first half with an oblique muscle injury, but returned in the second half. … Carolina S Colin Jones was ruled out with a concussion early in the second half.
Panthers: Host Chiefs on Sunday.
Rams: At Jets on Sunday.