The rookie quarterback threw two touchdown passes Sunday, the defense forced four turnovers and St. Louis reached the season's midway point at 4-4 and in contention in the NFC West after beating the Carolina Panthers 20-10.
|More on Panthers-Rams|
Bradford threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Danny Amendola in the second quarter and a 23-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Fells in the fourth quarter. He was 25 for 32 for 191 yards and no interceptions, with a season-best quarterback rating of 112.4.
"I felt very comfortable out there today, probably the most comfortable I've felt," said Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. "I think the game is really slowing down for me."
St. Louis goes into its bye week with more wins than the previous two seasons combined -- the Rams were 2-14 in 2008 before last season's NFL-worst 1-15 record.
It could be even better. St. Louis has surrendered more than 17 points just once and lost two games after leading in the fourth quarter.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo isn't worrying about what could have been.
"Everything that we had in front of us is still there," Spagnuolo said. "The NFC West is the first focus and we'll go from there."
"You're just not going to win games, especially on the road, when you turn it over that many times, so it was frustrating," Carolina coach John Fox said.
Fox gave Moore a vote of confidence -- sort of -- when asked if he'll start next week against New Orleans.
"I think right now Matt gives us our best chance," Fox said. "We'll evaluate it after we look at the tape. We've got to do something to be better and execute more consistently on offense."
The Panthers, who entered the game ranked next-to-last in total offense, mustered just 201 total yards. They missed Pro Bowl running back DeAngelo Williams, out with a foot injury suffered in last weekend's win over San Francisco. His replacement, Jonathan Stewart, carried 14 times for 30 yards. Overall, the Panthers rushed 17 times for 25 yards.
|The Panthers entered the game with a minus-6 turnover ratio, which was sixth-worst in the league. They had four turnovers on Sunday and Matt Moore crashed hard following a 308-yard performance a week earlier by throwing three INTs. Carolina had just 25 rushing yards on 17 attempts.|
|St. Louis Rams|
|The Rams defense forced four turnovers and the offense took care of the ball in winning their fourth straight home game. Rookie QB Sam Bradford has not thrown an interception in 96 attempts. He finished Sunday’s game with a passer rating of 112.4.|
|By Ron Clements|
Give us your grades on Facebook
Still, Carolina had the ball at midfield, down 10-3 with a chance to tie early in the fourth quarter. But Smith fumbled after catching a pass and Chris Long recovered, giving St. Louis the ball at the Carolina 43.
Five plays later, on third-and-18, Bradford rolled to his right and connected with Fells in stride, and he went into the end zone to make it 17-3.
Carolina scored with 3:37 to play on Moore's 17-yard pass to Brandon LaFell.
After a sluggish first quarter -- both teams combined for four first downs and 44 yards -- St. Louis opened the scoring on Josh Brown's 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter. The kick ended a scoreless drought for St. Louis from the second quarter of last week's 18-17 loss at Tampa Bay.
The Rams made it 10-0 with 2:07 to go in the half on Bradford's short pass to Amendola. Carolina responded with a drive ending with John Kasay's 44-yard field goal in the final minute of the half.
Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis had eight tackles, one sack and one interception. Long had a sack, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.
Laurinaitis said the defensive toughness is a reflection of Spagnuolo, the second-year coach who was defensive coordinator for the Giants' Super Bowl-winning team.
"He's a tough guy who preaches playing with heart and passion and that's what these guys do," Laurinaitis said.
The Rams' Steven Jackson, playing with a broken ring finger on his left hand, rushed 23 times for 59 yards.
- The Rams retired Isaac Bruce's No. 80 in a pregame ceremony that included several of Bruce's teammates and former coaches Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz. Martz, now offensive coordinator for the Bears, was able to attend because Chicago had a bye week.
- The Rams and Panthers combined for just 447 total yards.
- Jackson's injury clearly hampered his ability as a receiver. He came out in obvious passing situations. He caught just one pass, for 4 yards, and did so one-handed.