"Having to watch the rest of the game in the locker room was probably one of the low points of my career," Long said. "I can't let that happen again. I need to be stronger than that."
The Rams answered quick, with Bradford firing a 73-yard completion to Brian Quick on the first play of the ensuing drive. With possession on their opponents 7-yard line, Stacy ran three yards up the middle before Bradford found him leaking out to the right for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers came right back to answer with a touchdown of their own, however, to make the score 27-12. Newton led an eight-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Smith. The wideout caught the ball short to the right side and made two defenders miss tackles before he walked into the end zone in the final minute of the third quarter.
St. Louis went three-and-out following the Panthers' touchdown and didn't help their cause by committing three penalties, one on each play.
Carolina took advantage of the Rams' mistakes once again, moving the ball 20 yards on five plays. Gano came in on 4th-and-2 at the St. Louis 32-yard line and kicked through a 50-yard field goal, his third of the game.
Bradford attempted again to bring the Rams closer. On the first play of the drive next drive, he found Austin for a 24-yard pass, then later hit Austin Pettis for back-to-back receptions. The drive still looked as if it was going to end without points until a third-down penalty on the Panthers that the ball to the Carolina 27-yard line of Carolina. The Rams couldn't muster any more yards and settled for a 42-yard field goal by Zuerlein with 9:13 left.
The Panthers went three-and-out to follow up that drive. St. Louis looked to cut farther into Carolina's lead, but on the fifth play of their drive, Bradford was shoved out of bounds on a scramble for a yard and was injured by Mike Mitchell on a legal hit. Kellen Clemens replaced Bradford.
Bradford made it to the sideline with help from team staff, but had to be carted to the locker room and was being evaluated for an injury to his left knee. He didn't return to the game.