Rams heat up after slow start to scorch Texans

LOS ANGELES – A first-half defensive battle made way for a highlight-reel worthy third quarter for the Los Angeles Rams, and Sean McVay and Co. never looked back after that, rolling to a 33-7 victory over the visiting Houston Texans to continue their surprising success.

Improving to 7-2 on the year, the Rams remain in control of the NFC West after the second-place Sehawks improved to 6-3 with a win on Thursday.

A week after lighting up the Giants to the tune of 51 points, the Rams — who lead the league in scoring at 32.9 points per game — looked nothing like themselves through a half of football.

The Houston defense, which ranked just 30th in scoring entering the game, proved problematic for the Rams early on. Jadeveon Clowney and his fellow defensive linemen did a good job of generating pressure up the middle, which prevented Goff from operating comfortably from the pocket. When Goff scrambled to extend plays, Houston’s linebackers and defensive backs were able to roll their coverage accordingly.

Los Angeles entered halftime with just a 9-7 lead after posting only 131 yards and six first downs.

But the sluggish play didn’t follow the Rams back into the third quarter. After another defensive stand and a punt, L.A. took over at its own 4-yard line, and after a 2-yard Todd Gurley run, Jared Goff took to the air with a 94-yard play-action pass to wide receiver Robert Woods. That was the longest gain by the franchise since 1994.

Eight minutes later, Goff connected with another former Buffalo Bills receiver as Sammy Watkins found the end zone on a 17-yard receiver screen. And after another sack-fumble on Tom Savage (this time forced by Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam), Goff went back to Woods for a 12-yard touchdown toss.

In the third-quarter alone, the Rams outgained the Texans 105-40 and outscored them 21-0.

The second touchdown to Woods gave Goff his third 300-yard day of the season and this fourth multiple touchdown pass outing. Goff finished with 355 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-37 passing.

The Rams defense recorded yet another interception in the final 4:34 of play, snuffing out a scoring opportunity by the Texans. Blake Countless picked off Savage at the Rams' 25 and returned it 19 yards.

Los Angeles' defense racked up three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles on Savage.

Follow Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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