The Los Angeles Rams blowout win against the Houston Texans 38-22 was a demonstration of defensive dominance and offensive calibration. The fourth quarter started with a score of 38-0 and some of the starters were rested at that point including quarterback Matthew Stafford. Given the blowout nature of the game, based on the first three quarters, here is a breakdown of each position group and the resulting letter grades.
Matthew Stafford completed 21 of 32 passes for 305 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He hit Cooper Kupp for a 52 yarder and Van Jefferson for a 68 yarder. He had a completion percentage of 65%, gave up zero interceptions and zero lost fumbles. On the season, Stafford has 22 touchdowns to four interceptions and should be highly considered in the mix for MVP.
It sure looked like Darrell Henderson Jr was going to record his first 100 yard game of the season as he hit 65 yards in the first half. However he ended the game with 90 yards on 14 carries, a 6.4 yard average, and one rushing touchdown. Henderson ran the ball well behind great blocking. The biggest factor in keeping Henderson from reaching 100 yards was the shared load with Sony Michel who also ran well. Michel had 42 yards on nine carries and a 4.7 yard average and no touchdowns. Both backs displayed patience and burst allowing blocks to develop hitting holes quickly.
Cooper Kupp led the way again as he reveals himself as the best receiver in the league this season. Kupp had seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. He route running skills were on full display as he defenders were left head shaking after giving up key plays and the touchdown to Kupp who should be considered for offensive player of the year. Van Jefferson also had a nice day with three receptions for 88 yards with a nice deep ball grab for 68 yards after which he came up limping but seemed prepared to return to the game had it not been for the blowout fourth quarter substitutions. Robert Woods also chipped in with a touchdown catch. Ben Skowronek got in the game and recorded three catches on three targets.
Tyler Higbee showed reliable hands catching all three of his targets for 25 yards. Kendall Blanton was promoted after the loss of Johnny Mundt and had a good first showing contributing to the blocking efforts that led to a productive run game.
The offensive line pushed the Texans around all day. The blocking led to a team rushing total of 165 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Allen at center is proving a reliable and formidable presence capable of leading the group and Joe Noteboom filled in nicely for Andrew Whitworth at left tackle. The starting group allowed zero sacks again while they were in during the first three quarters.
As much as the Texans made it a point of their gameplay for Aaron Donald not to wreck their game, Aaron Donald wrecked their game. Donald had three tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits. Greg Gaines stepped in as a starter in place for the injured Sebastian Joseph-Day and made his presence known pushing his way around the line of scrimmage for four tackles and one hit on the quarterback. The run game was all but stalled out in the first three quarters but even with the mop up fourth quarter counted the rush total for the Texans amounted to only 44 yards.
Rookie Earnest Jones made his first start in place of the traded Kenny Young and created zero doubt that he could handle the job. He recorded nine tackles, one tackle for a loss, two hits on the quarterback, an assisted sack, and an interception. Leonard Floyd is adding to his second productive season with the Rams racking up three tackles, one tackle for a loss, two quarterback hits, and two sacks.
Jalen Ramsey continues to disrupt with one pass break up and one tackle for a loss in this game. Donte Deayon almost had a highlight interception leaping up to grab a pass on the sideline and coming down with just his toes on the inside of the boundary, not counted due to a penalty near the line of scrimmage. Davis Mills was able to connect a few times but nothing enough to threaten the lead during the rams build up to 38 points.
Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp managed to contain the Texans receivers allowing only zero points in the first three quarters. The pair combined for seven tackles.
Kicker Matt Gay was five for five on extra point attempts and one for one on field goals. Tutu Atwell was non threatening as a returner. A Texans onside kick attempt was given up back to the Texans in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the Rams played an impressive game against at team that has limited threats and a losing record. However, improvement for the Rams was evident over last week against the Lions who are in a similar position as the Texans but gave the Rams a much harder time. LA appeared calibrated on both sides of the ball and more prepared to take on a tougher phase of the schedule. The Tennessee Titans are next at SoFi Stadium.