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Los Angeles Rams vs. Houston Texans: The expected & the unexpected

These were the LA Rams that we were expecting to see... in the second half.

Houston Texans v Los Angeles Ram Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In case you haven’t updated the identity of the 2017 Los Angeles Rams, make sure you add: “blows teams out on a consistent basis.” In the past 8 games, the Rams have won by over 30 points 3 times. In the 213 games before this season, they also won by over 30 points 3 times. That’s a hell of an improvement, Ramily.

But Sunday’s win wasn’t without its surprises. Let’s take a look at the expected and unexpected aspects of the game:

Expected: the Rams defense struggled, then clamped down

This is the been a constant narrative that you can count on an weekly basis, even though it still raises the blood pressure of Rams fans. In fact, Rams Twitter was apparently losing their collective insides during the first half as QB Tom Savage moved the ball down the field with relative ease. But WR DeAndre Hopkins is an elite receiver, so it’s not a shock that he got his moments, racking up 111 yards on 7 catches. And it wasn’t like the Texans were throwing up 20+ points in the first half or anything. It was a touchdown. But see? We’re want shutouts in 2017. But as you fill our mock drafts before the year is over (because I know you love it), keep thinking EDGE RUSHERS & CORNERBACKS!

And S John Johnson’s coverage looked slow again, but somehow the unit as a whole tightened things up in the second half with explosive plays that blew the game wide open. Another strip sack for Aaron Donald! To be expected. Yet credit has to be given to the depth of the defense, especially rookie LB Samson Ebukam, who filled in nicely for LB Robert Quinn.

Unexpected: McVay helped Jared Goff have yet another career day with the deep ball

I was assuming that Coach McVay was going to play it conservative with the Texans defense, pushing the run with a couple well designed screen passes thrown in. And that’s exactly what he tried to do in the first half. What was great to see was McVay’s ability to read the exotic coverages that Houston was showing early on, then exploiting them in the second half.

Coach McVay picked up on the Texans’ history of stacking the box when the Rams would run RB Todd Gurley to the left. In the first half, Houston was having a lot of success shutting down Gurley. Why stop? Well, McVay then used Robert as a deep threat, catching the ball around the fifty yard line, with an open field to play with — the longest Rams play in 53 years.

Yet, what was also surprising to me was how Jared Goff continues to lock in on his first reads, telegraphing to the defense where he’s going to throw the ball. He still doesn’t seem to be seeing the field as well as he could be. But that’s something young QB’s do. However, the fact that he had another game without a turnover was unexpected. Maybe he lucked out or he’s just being smart with the ball.

So, the Rams were dominant yet again. No surprise there. All that seems unexpected to me is the emergence of Robert Woods as a legit #1 receiver and Goff’s quick ascendence to a top QB in the NFL. It’s happening fast, Rams fans.

And now... let’s hype up this matchup at Minnesota!