I would rather see the Rams beat the Packers by a 34-31 score than have to sit through another game like Sunday’s against the Houston Texans. I would rather see Darrell Henderson gain five yards on third-and-4 against the Bucs than I would see him pick up 90 on a single play against the Texans. I would rather Matthew Stafford finds a red zone touchdown against the Cardinals, then to see him pad stats against the NFL’s “pad boys of football.”
When a good play happened in Week 8, the joy felt forced. On LA’s side. Surely the Texans were joyful during a late fourth quarter effort to make the final score seem closer than the game actually was, but the smile on Davis Mills’ face with his team down 16 points and assured a loss is all you need to know.
Sean McVay wants to win every game this season. Texans general manager Nick Caserio wants to lose every game remaining. The goal of every NFL team each year is not to embarrass teams that hope to lose; it’s to defeat, by any score, the other teams that desperately want to win. Nothing drives fans to a sport more than competition.
Despite a late rally to get 22 points in garbage time, the Houston Texans (as an organization) have had zero intention to compete in 2021 and while I commend the strategy, I condemn the message it sends. That was bad football today and bad football is bad for football.
Whatever, the Rams got another win and improved to 7-1, but hopefully this game doesn’t seep into their brains and cause complacency next week against the Titans. Because nobody else they face this season — not even the Detroit Lions — will come close to the haplessness and hopelessness of Houston.
Rams Red Zone Practice
Here is what LA went through in the first half:
First drive: Drove inside the five, Touchdown
Second drive: Drove inside the five, turnover on downs
Third drive: Inside the 10, settle for field goal
Fourth drive: Inside the five, stopped on fourth down, but ticky tack holding penalty gives new set of downs and Touchdown.
Fifth drive: Inside the 5, Touchdown.
Despite how bad the Texans are, I think you could argue that the Rams disappointed on three of their first four drives. Instead of being up 28-0, it was just 17-0 at that point. Against better teams, Matthew Stafford will need to finish drives that reach the opposition’s five-yard line.
Not a “real game”
Nothing felt “real” on Sunday. The Davis Mills-led Texans might be the worst offense of the century. The Texans have scored nine or fewer points in five of their last six games now. Maybe in part due to how out-matched and out-willed these teams are right now, refs seemed to favor the Rams and it seemed as though holding penalties, false starts, and pass interference often went against Houston in critical moments of the first half.
I never knew I’d be advocating for better officiating on the other side, but that’s how pointless the game felt. LA could have pulled their starters with a 10-0 lead if they had wanted to and Sean McVay could have tested John Wolford with the start.
Andrew Whitworth and Sebastian Joseph-Day were both inactive when maybe in a critical situation, they wouldn’t have been. I would like to say that Joseph Noteboom was dominant at left tackle but I find it hard to evaluate any Rams based on the fact that no other matchups this season will be as easy.
Ernest Jones gives an interception, takes an interception away
It was a good spot for the third round linebacker to make his first career start. Jones picked off Mills mid-way through the second quarter, setting up the Rams with a short 12-yard touchdown drive.
Then later in the quarter, Donte’ Deayon made a highlight sideline pick of Mills that was called back because of a hands to the face penalty on Jones. Had the officials known that Deayon was going to pick Mills, maybe they wouldn’t have thrown the flag. Hate to see that yellow hit the field when Deayon finally got the moment he has earned.
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Matthew Stafford stats
Finally, Matthew Stafford gets to be one the right side of a blowout and was able to “pad his stats” in the first half.
Stafford finished 21/32 for 305 yards with three touchdowns and it was the second time in three weeks that he didn’t have to play in the fourth quarter. Cooper Kupp was again his favorite target, catching seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown on nine targets.
Kupp already has six games this season with at least 90 yards and a touchdown. Overall, he has 63 catches for 924 yards and 10 touchdowns through eight games. That should keep him ranked first in all three categories as we hit the “midpoint” (not quite anymore) of the season.
Van Jefferson had three catches for 88 yards.
Lonnie just got toasted by Van Jefferson pic.twitter.com/GcdxaVV3Fv— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) October 31, 2021
Leonard Floyd with two more sacks
With two more sacks on Sunday, Floyd now has 6.5 on the season and at least one sack in five of the last seven contests. Floyd has 3.5 sacks in the last three games.
Max I know you're struggling. Anyway, here's Aaron Donald. pic.twitter.com/EmPkL9WUym— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) October 31, 2021
Aaron Donald also had 1.5 sacks and now has five total on the year.
Darrell Henderson game
A breakout season continues for Darrell Henderson, as he finished with 90 yards on 14 carries, and he scored twice. The 90 yards is a season-high for the 24-year-old running back, as was his 6.5 yards per carry. Henderson has also caught at least one pass in every game this season that he has been active.
Overall, Darrell Henderson has rushed for 507 yards in seven games and he is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He has scored seven touchdowns.
Special Teams “whoops” again
After allowing two fake punt conversions and an onside kick recovery, the LA Rams allowed another onside kick recovery in the fourth quarter on Sunday. It’s been a bad eight days for special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis.
Tutu Atwell and Van Jefferson were noted with injuries or being hurt, of various levels. Van Jefferson limped off at one point but appeared okay. Atwell returned or attempted to return several punts and on the final one he was removed with a shoulder injury that appeared to be painful.
Injury update: WR Tutu Atwell (shoulder) questionable to return.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) October 31, 2021
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