Rams roll over Texans as expected, but next comes big test in clash with Titans
HOUSTON — Forget the final score. Disregard the junior varsity fourth quarter.
The Rams’ 38-22 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium was a predictable rout, the precursor to the real business at hand.
The Rams, in a boom or bust season, continue to look like a team capable of a deep playoff run and perhaps a Super Bowl appearance. They have won four games in row for the first time since 2018, the season in which coach Sean McVay led his team to Super Bowl LIII.
But getting an accurate read on how good these 7-1 Rams really are will have to wait at least another week. Tuesday is the NFL trade deadline. Next Sunday night, the 6-2 Tennessee Titans and star running back Derrick Henry visit SoFi Stadium.
For the moment, give McVay and the Rams credit. They beat the Seattle Seahawks and then dispatched the undermanned and overmatched New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Texans.
Rams defeat Texans, 38-22
Final score: Rams 38, Texans 22
The Rams scored 38 unanswered points before the Texans added 22 late in the fourth.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 305 passing yards for three touchdowns while receiver Cooper Kupp had 115 yards for a touchdown.
Texans cutting Rams’ lead, trailing 38-22
Rams 38, Texans 22…2:35 left
Texans recover an onside kick to set up another Davis Mills’ touchdown pass. They get the two-point conversion to get closer to the Rams.
It was an eight-play, 50-yard touchdown drive in 2:25.
Mills is 24 of 31 passes for 237 yards, with an interception.
Texans score again late, Rams still up 38-14
Rams 38, Texans 14... 5:00 left
Texans quarterback Davis Mills led a 4-play, 62-yard scoring drive in 1:23 to cut the Ram’s lead.
Mills has completed 22 of 28 passes for 220 yards, with an interception.
Texans score to avoid shutout
Rams 38, Texans 7…8:08 left
The Rams lost the chance to record their first shutout since the 2018 season when Texans running back Rex Burkhead scored on a short touchdown run.
The Texans failed to score a touchdown in Oct. 24’s 31-5 defeat by the Arizona Cardinals.
Quarterback Davis Mills led the 10-play, 6-yard scoring drive against Rams reserves.
Mills has completed 17 of 23 passes for 130 yards, with an interception.
Rams dominating Texans, 38-0, at end of third quarter
Rams 38, Texans 0…end of third quarter
Receiver Robert Woods took a pitch from quarterback Matthew Stafford and scored his second touchdown of the game on a 16-yard fly sweep.
Woods has three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown, and he has rushed for 22 yards and a touchdown in two carries.
Stafford has completed 21 of 32 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns.
Receiver Cooper Kupp has seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Rams up, 31-0, with Matthew Stafford pass to Cooper Kupp
Rams 31, Texans 0…7:55 left in the third quarter
Rams coach Sean McVay said this week that the team would look to trade receiver DeSean Jackson, who had been signed to be the team’s deep threat.
Second-year pro Van Jefferson showed he was capable of filling that role by catching a 68-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford, though Jefferson limped off the field after the play. Jefferson’s catch set up Stafford’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp as the Rams continued to dominate their hapless opponent.
Stafford has completed 18 of 29 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
Kupp has six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Jefferson has three catches for 88 yards.
Rams lead Texans, 24-0, at halftime
Rams 24, Texans 3… halftime
Rams running back scored on a one-yard run with 30 seconds left in the second quarter to continue what is expected to be a rout.
The touchdown was set by Matthew Stafford’s 52-yard completion to receiver Cooper Kupp.
Henderson has rushed for 80 yards in 12 carries. He also caught a touchdown pass.
Stafford has completed 16 of 25 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Kupp has five receptions for 98 yards. Robert Woods has three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Rams rookie linebacker Ernest Jones intercepted a pass, and defensive linemen Aaron Donald and Greg Gaines combined for a sack.
The Texans had a chance to avoid a first-half shutout, but Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.
Ernest Jones’ interception sets up two-yard TD pass from Matthew Stafford to Robert Woods
Rams 17, Texans 0…6:09 left in the second quarter
Rookie linebacker Ernest Jones made the most of his opportunity.
After the Rams traded Kenny Young this week, Jones ascended into the starting lineup against the Texans.
Jones intercepted a pass by Davis Mills and returned it 19 yards, setting up a two-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Robert Woods.
The Rams had appeared to be stopped when Stafford’s pass on a fourth-and-three play from the five-yard line was broken up and fell incomplete.
But Texans defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III was penalized for holding, giving the Rams a first down at the two-yard line.
Stafford has completed 13 of 21 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt Gay’s FG extends Rams’ lead, 10-0
Rams 10, Texans 0…8:51 left in second quarter
Matt Gay kicked a 27-yard field goal to increase the Rams’ lead.
The Rams had driven to the Texans’ nine-yard line, but the Texans broke up a second down pass intended for Robert Wood, and Stafford’s pass to Cooper Kupp on third down sailed over the receiver’s head.
Stafford has completed 12 of 20 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.
End of 1st: Rams lead Texans, 7-0
Rams 7, Texans 0, end of first quarter
The Rams appeared on the verge of extending their lead in the final minute of the second quarter, but Matthew Stafford’s pass to running back Darrell Henderson on a fourth-and-one play from the four-year line fell incomplete.
Stafford has completed nine of 14 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Henderson has rushed for 43 yards in five carries and has a touchdown catch.
Rams take an early 7-0 lead on opening drive
Rams 7, Texans 0…9:32 left in first quarter
The Rams were not going to have a repeat of Oct. 24 when they fell behind the Detroit Lions, 10-0.
On the first possession, the Rams drove 75 yards in 11 plays and scored on Matthew Stafford’s three-yard touchdown pass to running back Darrell Henderson.
Stafford has passed for 20 touchdowns.
Rams’ inactives against Texans
The Rams listed the following players as inactive against the Texans:
The Texans listed the following players inactive:
Rams’ situation with DeSean Jackson and lineup changes can’t compare with Texans’ problems
Going into the week, despite a three-game winning streak, there wasn’t much buzz about the Rams.
They were coming off a tougher-than-expected victory over Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions and looking ahead to another game against an overmatched opponent — the Houston Texans.
Then general manager Les Snead made things interesting.
In a surprise move, to clear salary-cap space, the Rams traded starting inside linebacker Kenny Young. A few days later, coach Sean McVay announced they were seeking to trade receiver DeSean Jackson.
Both moves could have implications as Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline approaches.
Rams vs. Houston Texans: NFL betting lines, odds and picks
Los Angeles Rams (-14.5, 47.5) at Houston Texans
The stat sheet looks a lot similar this week to what we saw last week against the Lions. This game doesn’t have the big Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff story line, but that was about the only thing that could have drummed up interest in last week’s contest.
The Rams entered Week 8 second in the league in yards per play with 6.5. The Texans are even lower than the Lions with 4.8 YPP. That ranks 30th in the league, better than only the Jets and Bears. The Rams have scored on 50.7% of their possessions, while the Texans have only scored on 24% of their possessions.
Much like last week’s game, this just looks like a “volume” handicap. The Rams are going to score twice as often as the Texans on average. Houston only has nine takeaways this season, while the Rams have 12, so Los Angeles could even get extra possessions with a much more reliable quarterback in Stafford than rookie Davis Mills or Tyrod Taylor, who returned to practice this week. By Thursday, the Texans had not yet named a starter, but it will either be the rookie with seven interceptions against five touchdowns or the veteran starter coming back after missing five games.
Rams vs. Houston Texans matchups: L.A.’s offense aims to keep thriving
Breaking down how the Rams (6-1) and the Houston Texans (1-6) match up heading into their game at 10 a.m. Pacific time Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston. The game will be carried on Fox (Channel 11).
When Rams have the ball: Just as Sean McVay planned, quarterback Matthew Stafford is enabling the coach to use the full playbook. Stafford has passed for 2,172 yards and 19 touchdowns, with four interceptions. In a 28-19 victory over the Detroit Lions last Sunday, Stafford passed for three touchdowns, two to receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams should have their way with the hapless Texans whether they pass or run. Kupp potentially could set many NFL records with a league-leading 56 catches for 809 yards and nine touchdowns, especially with an extra game this season. Robert Woods and Van Jefferson also have been productive. DeSean Jackson, who has only eight catches on 15 targets, will not play because he seeking an opportunity elsewhere, according to McVay. That could translate into opportunity for rookie Tutu Atwell. Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel have been a solid running-back combination, and tight end Tyler Higbee has been a reliable third-down target. With Andrew Whitworth sidelined because of a knee injury, Joe Noteboom will start at left tackle. Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard has six sacks. Defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. has intercepted three passes and safety Justin Reid has intercepted two.