NFL Football

10
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Carolina 3 7 0 0 10
LA Rams 0 7 10 7 24
24
1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST2:05 PM CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ET19:05 , October 16, 2022
SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California  Weather: 72°, Cloudy  Attendance: 71,482

Panthers-Rams Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Rams

  1. These teams have met just twice since the Rams' move to Los Angeles, with the Panthers getting a 13-10 win at the Coliseum in 2016 and the Rams winning 30-27 in Carolina in Week 1, 2019. Each of the five games between these franchises prior to that had been decided by at least 10 points.
  2. The Panthers lost to the 49ers, 37-15, at home last week, leading to the firing of head coach Matt Rhule. Rhule went 11-27 in parts of three seasons at the helm with the Panthers after going 11-3 in his final season as head coach at Baylor.
  3. Christian McCaffrey had 52 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards last week. It was the 23rd game of his career with 50+ rushing and receiving yards, eight more than any other player since he entered the league in 2017 (Alvin Kamara, 15).
  4. The Rams lost to the Cowboys, 22-10, at home last week. In their three losses this season, the Rams have scored 10 or fewer points and lost by at least 10 points. They had five such games across the 2017-2021 seasons, and hadn't had consecutive such games since 2015.
  5. Cooper Kupp has 49 receptions this season, nine more than any other player (Justin Jefferson, 40), but just two have gone for 25+ yards -- a 28-yard catch late in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to Buffalo, and a 75-yard touchdown catch last week against Dallas. He had 23 such receptions last season, most in the NFL.
  6. Los Angeles has been outscored 47-3 in the fourth quarter this season, the worst point differential by any team in any quarter this season. Carolina has allowed 55 fourth-quarter points, most in the NFL.
Team Comparison

Carolina
 
Los Angeles
18.6 Points 16.0
204.4 Pass Yds 267.0
89.8 Rush Yds 62.4
5 Takeaways 7
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) Not many NFL offenses have struggled more than the Los Angeles Rams' unit this season.

The Carolina Panthers' offense is one of them.

The Panthers' struggles aren't exactly surprising, since their top three quarterbacks are either injured or ineffective. Carolina (1-4) took drastic steps to fix its larger problems Monday by firing coach Matt Rhule, and Steve Wilks will make his interim head coaching debut Sunday when the Panthers visit the defending Super Bowl champions (2-3) at SoFi Stadium.

Wilks' quarterback is all but certain to be P.J. Walker, the seldom-used veteran backup who's the last man standing behind Baker Mayfield and Southern California natives Sam Darnold and Matt Corral.

"I'm confident in P.J., and I think the players are confident in P.J.," said Wilks, the fourth head coach in the past four seasons for a franchise that had only two coaches in the previous 17 seasons. "This is one of those situations where, you're sitting where we are right now this season, and everybody could start pressing and trying to do things outside the system. We don't need one guy to go out and win the football game. Just go out and do what you do."

The Rams haven't been able to do practically anything consistently on offense, with a barely functional running game and an NFL-high 21 sacks allowed. Although offensive line injuries are the primary culprit, mistakes and missed assignments have infected the entire group to a degree that coach Sean McVay has rarely seen in his six seasons.

"It's hard to beat another team if you don't stop beating yourself," McVay said. "So those are the things that we'll continue to focus on: great communication, great command, great clarity from us. I do believe those things are correctable, and I think that's going to be reflected this week."

A struggling opponent in turmoil would seem to be an ideal foe for the Rams, whose back-to-back losses to San Francisco and Dallas have put them below .500 for only the second time in McVay's career. But a coach's firing frequently generates energy in professional team sports, and Carolina is equipped to cause problems for the Rams' dismal offensive line with stalwarts Brian Burns and Derrick Brown up front.

"They're a really impressive group," Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford said, singling out Burns and linebacker Shaq Thompson. "Probably in a little bit of a transition with what's gone on, so there's an element of that to get ready for, but you've really got to just go out there and trust your rules and play."

GETTING AGGRESSIVE

Wilks said the plan is for the Panthers to be more aggressive on offense and not allow opposing defenses to dictate what they do.

That might mean more downfield passes -- something the Panthers haven't done much of this season.

"We aren't going to sit back and react to the defense," Wilks said. "We want to put pressure on them and have them react to us and mix things in, whether it's inside or outside on the perimeter, and then try to go over the top."

KUPP VS HORN?

NFL receptions leader Cooper Kupp has been the best part of the Rams' offense, racking up 49 catches for 527 yards and four TDs. Jaycee Horn has been one of the NFL's top cornerbacks in coverage this season, but he missed practice time this week with a rib injury after being unable to finish last week's game.

MOORE OR LESS

The Panthers signed receiver D.J. Moore to a three-year, $61.8 million extension this year, but his production has suddenly dropped off.

Moore, who is coming off three straight seasons with at least 1,150 yards receiving, has 17 catches for 197 yards and one touchdown through five games with Mayfield at the helm. Mayfield and Moore appeared to have great chemistry in training camp, but it hasn't translated to games, in part because of Mayfield's accuracy issues.

Wilks is hoping to get Moore more involved in the offense, whether Mayfield or Walker is playing.

CORBETT'S VOID

The Rams will see a familiar face on the Panthers' offensive line: right guard Austin Corbett, who built a career in Los Angeles and won a Super Bowl ring before leaving last spring for a three-year, $26.25 million deal in free agency. The Rams promoted from within to replace him, but the first two contenders - Coleman Shelton and Tremayne Anchrum - are both hurt. Alaric Jackson is the current starter, but the longtime tackle doesn't appear to be adapting swiftly to guard.

ROAD TRIP!

Thompson said this may be a good week for the Panthers to get away from home and play a road game, given the firing of Rhule and the team being roundly booed in recent weeks at home.

"We're playing against the world champions," Thompson said. "They just came off a loss at home like we did, and we're going to trying to give them another one."

The Panthers are 1-3 at home.

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Updated October 13, 2022

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