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Plays that shaped the Rams' season: No. 7

ST. LOUIS -- Riding a two-game winning streak which allowed them to even their record at 3-3, the St. Louis Rams hit the road to take on the just-emerging Carolina Panthers.

The game represented a possible turning point for the season and the chance for the Rams to creep above .500 before heading home for back-to-back home games. In what turned out to be the most eventful game of the season, it was the first play from scrimmage that set the tone.

During the week, the Rams had identified some weaknesses in the Carolina secondary that they had hoped to exploit for big plays. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer wasted no time attempting to do just that.

On first-and-10 from the Rams' 22, Schottenheimer called for a play-action pass with quarterback Sam Bradford looking to hit receiver Brian Quick over the top. Carolina cornerback Josh Thomas, whom the Rams had clearly identified as their target for the day, was locked in coverage with Quick who had a couple of steps on him deep down the middle of the field.

The potential was there for a home run play to open the game. Instead, blitzing Carolina safety Quintin Mikell, the former Ram, came crashing through a hole on the right side of the line. Rams running back Zac Stacy's had the task of picking up the blitz and got a piece of Mikell as he came after Bradford. But Stacy didn't get enough of him and Mikell hit Bradford on the arm as he uncorked the pass.

Instead of a possible long ball to start the game, the ball came up well short of Quick and fell into the waiting arms of Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn secured the ball and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead the Panthers never relinquished.

Later in the game, Quick and Bradford would connect over Thomas on a mirror-image play that went for 73 yards but it was too little, too late as the Panthers went on to win 30-15. The Rams would not see the .500 mark again the rest of the season.