Carolina plays host to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at 1 p.m. to open the 2019 season. Here are some matchup notes, statistics to know and team connections for Sunday's game.
- Carolina is 10-14 all-time in season openers, including 4-7 when opening the year at home. However, under coach Ron Rivera, the Panthers have won four of the last five season openers dating back to the 20-14 win in Tampa Bay in 2014. Only the Broncos have more Week 1 wins since 2014.
- The Panthers are 13-8 against the Rams all-time, including a win in Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams first year back in California. The Panthers are 6-4 at home against the Rams, with a 4-1 home record dating back to 2000. Carolina's signature victory came in St. Louis in the 2003 Divisional round in the double-overtime victory capped by Steve Smith's 69-yard catch.
- Last season, the Rams ranked second in the NFL in total offense (421.1), third in rushing (139.4) and fifth in passing (295.6). However, the team's defense struggled against the run, ranking last in rushing yards allowed per attempt (5.07).
- Jared Goff threw for 4,688 yards with 32 TDs and Todd Gurley ran for 1,251 yards and 17 TDs. Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks each had over 1,200 yards receiving. Aaron Donald led the NFL with 20.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss.
- Los Angeles defeated New Orleans in the NFC Championship last year before losing to New England in the Super Bowl. Carolina has faced the defending NFC Champion every season since 2008, winning three of the last four matchups, including a thrilling come-from-behind win at Philadelphia last year.
View photos of action between the Panthers and Rams through the Years. Carolina owns a 13-8 advantage in the all-time series record.
|Category (2018 stats)||Panthers||Rams|
|Total Yards/Game||373.3 (10th)||421.1 (2nd)|
|Rushing Yards/Game||133.5 (4th)||139.4 (3rd)|
|Passing Yards/Game||254.4 (17th)||295.6 (5th)|
|Sacks Allowed||32 (t-6th)||33 (t-24th)|
|Third Down Efficiency||41.6 (9th)||45.0 (8th)|
|Points/Game||23.5 (t-14th)||32.9 (5th)|
|Total Yards/Game||352.2 (15th)||358.6 (19th)|
|Rushing Yards/Game||112.8 (12th)||122.3 (23rd)|
|Passing Yards/Game||240.4 (18th)||236.3 (14th)|
|Sacks||35 (17th)||41 (15th)|
|Third Down Efficiency||39.9 (19th)||37.2 (12th)|
|Points/Game||23.9 (19th)||24.0 (20th)|
Next Gen Stats
According to Next Gen Stats, DJ Moore led all NFL wide receivers with an average of 7.9 yards after the catch in 2018.
Even more impressive was his average YAC above expectation. Essentially, Next Gen Stats creates an expected yards after catch number, based on numerous factors using tracking data such as how open the receiver is, how fast they’re traveling, how many defenders/blockers are in space, etc.
Moore's expected yards after the catch was 4.9, making his YAC above expectation average of 3.0 the second-highest among all NFL wide receivers and tight ends.
Stat Nuggets To Know
- Last year, Cam Newton passed for 3,395 yards & 24 TDs and joined Peyton Manning as the only QBs in NFL history with 3,000+ pass yards in each of their 1st 8 seasons.
- In 2018, Christian McCaffrey set the NFL record for most receptions (107) by a running back in a single season. He also became the first player in NFL history with 50+ rush yards and 50+ receiving yards in five consecutive games (Weeks 9-13).
- Since 2017, McCaffrey is one of three running backs (Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara) with 3,000+ scrimmage yards and 20+ scrimmage touchdowns.
- Moore ranked second among rookie wide receivers in catches (55) and receiving yards (788) last year.
- Greg Olsen is currently fourth among ACTIVE tight ends with 57 career receiving touchdowns.
- Luke Kuechly leads the NFL in tackles (948) since his rookie season in 2012.
- Over the last six seasons, Gerald McCoy is the only defensive tackle in the NFL to tally at least six sacks every year.
Chasing Milestones in 2019
- Carolina needs 10 wins to reach 200 regular season wins in franchise history. Dating back to 1995, the Panthers are 190-193-1 in the regular season.
- Head coach Ron Rivera (71-56-1) needs three wins to pass John Fox (73-71) as the winningest coach in franchise history.
- Newton (4,808) needs 121 rushing yards to pass Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the second-most career rushing yards for a QB in NFL history.
- Newton (58) is currently tied for the most rushing touchdowns of any active player since 2011. He needs two rushing TDs to become just the 50th player in NFL history with 60 rushing TDs, already the most by any QB.
- McCaffrey (1,518) needs 104 receiving yards to pass DeAngelo Williams (1,621) for the most career receiving yards ever by a Panthers running back.
- Olsen (57) needs six touchdowns to catch Vernon Davis and Shannon Sharpe (62) for sixth-most career receiving touchdowns by an NFL tight end.
- According to press box stats, Kuechly (948) needs 52 tackles to reach 1,000 for his career. He also needs 19 tackles to pass Brian Urlacher (966) for the most through a player's first eight seasons in NFL history.
Notable Panthers-Rams Connections
- Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Norv Turner both coached for the Chargers in San Diego during the first years of Rams S Eric Weddle’s NFL career in San Diego.
- Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay served as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins while Panthers secondary coach Perry Fewell coached the defensive backs for Washington. Fewell also served as the secondary coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, while Rams backup QB Blake Bortles was the starting quarterback for Jacksonville and DE Dante Fowler Jr. played for the Jaguars.
- Panthers DT Gerald McCoy spent the first nine seasons of his career for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the first three of which on the same defense as Rams CB Aqib Talib. Talib also played two seasons with Panthers DT Kyle Love for the New England Patriots. After leaving New England, Talib played for the Denver Broncos from 2014 to 2017, playing with Panthers C Matt Paradis.
- Rams WR Brandin Cooks played one season with the New England Patriots while newly-acquired Panthers WR Chris Hogan was also on the Patriots receiving corps. Together, Hogan and Cooks played in Super Bowl LII.
- Panthers DT Dontari Poe and Rams CB Marcus Peters were drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2012 and 2015 NFL Drafts, respectively. They played the 2015 and 2016 seasons together on the Chiefs defense before Poe left in free agency and, the following year, Peters was traded to Los Angeles.
- Carolina receivers coach Jim Hostler was a senior offensive assistant for the Buffalo Bills in 2014, while Rams WR Robert Woods and CB Nickell Robey-Coleman were on the Bills roster. While Woods and Robey-Coleman played in Buffalo, they played with Panthers WR Chris Hogan, CB Ross Cockrell, and TE Chris Manhertz for at least a season each, and in Hogan’s case a total of three seasons.