Rams vs. Panthers final score: L.A. survives sloppy back-and-forth to spoil Christian McCaffrey's huge day

Neither the Carolina Panthers nor the Los Angeles Rams consistently looked as if they wanted to win Sunday's matchup between two potential NFC contenders, but at the end of the day, the defending Super Bowl runners-up got the job done.

Despite an inefficient day from newly paid quarterback Jared Goff (23 of 39, 186 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and a curiously limited role for (former?) star running back Todd Gurley early on, the Rams came away with the victory on the road in Week 1, outlasting Cam Newton and the Panthers for a 30-27 decision that spoiled a huge performance from Carolina's Christian McCaffrey (209 total yards).

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The Panthers defense came to play, opening Sunday's NFC tilt with enough aggression to keep L.A. bottled up and picking off Goff late in the game to give Newton and company opportunities. But the home team rarely capitalized when it needed to, either falling short on crucial third downs because of errant Newton throws, coughing up the ball (which D.J. Moore did not once but twice) or waiting too long to establish any kind of rhythm. The Rams, meanwhile, relied heavily on Malcolm Brown out of the backfield before returning to Gurley down the stretch, overcoming some Greg Zuerlein mistakes and early hiccups for a first step toward another NFC West title.

The Los Angeles Rams have opened the 2019 season much like they closed the 2018 season: with potent defense in form, unlike Gurley. They'll host the Saints in Week 2 in a potential playoff preview. The Panthers have a quick turnaround to put their loss behind them, squaring off with the Buccaneers at home on Thursday.

Relive Sunday's entire showdown right here in our live blog, which documents every big update and highlight from the day's action.


CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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