By Cedric Williams
The Los Angeles Rams played their first true home game in more than a month on Sunday when they hosted the visiting Houston Texans at the Memorial Coliseum. From the moment the Rams took the field, they looked like a team glad to be back playing in front of home fans.
Los Angeles was especially good in the second half, when the Rams outscored Houston 24-0 and held the Texans to just over 100 yards —most of which came on Houston’s final drive, when the Rams were already ahead 33-7.
The Rams are now 7-2, tied with New Orleans and Minnesota for the second-best record in the conference, and a full game ahead of Seattle for first place in the NFC West Division. LA delivered another dominating performance and we’ve got nothing but high marks all around for them once again.
The Rams put up 443 total yards on the Texans on Sunday, with most of that coming from QB Jared Goff, who finished the day with 355 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Houston’s defense is battling some injury problems, but is still considered a pretty good unit.
On Sunday, LA just shredded them, taking full advantage of Houston’s obvious game plan to slow down Rams running back Todd Gurley. Instead of trying to force-feed Gurley with all the running lanes clogged, the Rams turned to Goff, the October NFC Offensive Player of the Month, who put up another monster day.
Wide receiver Robert Woods had his best day as a Ram as well, catching eight passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a 94-yarder midway through the third quarter that gave LA their first comfortable lead of the day.
It’s beginning to seem like we say this every week, but the Rams “D” was just spectacular on Sunday. LA held Houston to just 283 total yards and forced four turnovers.
Linebackers Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron and defensive backs Trumaine Johnson and Kayvon Webster led the way with a combined 22 tackles (19 of which were solo stops). But, Sunday’s performance was a full team effort with Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald and Ethan Westbrooks contributing from the defensive line.
Special Teams: A+
Kicker Greg Zuerlein was outstanding again, going seven-for-seven on his kicks, including another four-for-four day on his field goal attempts. Punter Johnny Hekker also had a big day by putting up a 51.3 yards per punt average on four punts.
Even return man Pharoah Cooper had a good day, with a couple of 27-yard returns (one on a punt, another on a kickoff).
The key to Sunday’s game was the adjustments the Rams coaching staff made at halftime. Sean McVay and his staff must’ve realized the Texans weren’t going to let them pound the ball on the ground with Gurley, so instead they turned to Goff and attacked through the air.
And by making that adjustment, LA cruised offensively in the second half, which allowed the defense to attack non-stop. Coming out of that locker room, Houston didn’t have much chance and the Rams made sure it stayed that way.
The Rams will be back on the road next week, with a matchup against the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings.