Goff carves up Texans, lifts Rams to fourth in row
LOS ANGELES — It took more than a half for the Los Angeles Rams’ high-scoring offense to get untracked. But in the second half, when Jared Goff and the Rams started rolling, the Houston Texans had no answer.
Goff threw three second-half touchdowns passes and the Rams earned their fourth consecutive win with a 33-7 victory over the Texans on Sunday at the Memorial Coliseum.
“Any time you win a game, it’s a whole different feeling,” said Los Angeles defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who had a sack and forced a fumble. “We’ve got to keep rolling. I’m just happy we won. That’s what it’s all about in this league.”
The win allowed the Rams (7-2) to maintain a one-game lead over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The Texans (3-6) dropped their third straight.
A 94-yard touchdown pass from Goff to Robert Woods with 9:23 left in the third quarter turned a two-point Rams lead into a 16-7 cushion and seemed to pump life into an offense that struggled in the first half.
“Great pickup by the offensive line, (running back) Todd (Gurley) picks up the corner blitzing off the left side and then Jared stands in there and delivers a great ball over the top and then Robert finishes,” Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay said.
Goff also connected with Sammy Watkins on a 17-yard scoring pass and Woods on a 12-yarder to blow the game open late in the third quarter for the Rams, who led the league in scoring at 32.9 points per game entering the contest. The Rams outscored the Texans 21-0 in the third quarter.
Woods finished with eight catches for a career-high 171 yards. Goff was 25 of 37 for a career-best 355 yards with no interceptions.
“I think what you’ve heard us say before is the mental toughness,” McVay said of Goff. “Things started out and really, like I’ve mentioned, I put him in some bad spots and I thought he just stayed together, stayed the course, didn’t let whatever previous plays that didn’t work out for us effect his ability to move forward, and that’s what he has done a really good job of throughout the course of the first nine games now.”
Three Greg Zuerlein field goals, two of them occurring after turnovers, allowed the Rams to take a 9-7 lead at the half. Zuerlein connected from 27, 33 and 50 yards. Zuerlein, who was 4-for-4, also hit a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Houston’s lone score came on a 26-yard touchdown from quarterback Tom Savage to wide receiver Bruce Ellington that gave the Texans a 7-6 lead at 6:31 of the second quarter.
Savage, who started for the second time since Deshaun Watson was lost for the season with a torn ACL, completed 18 of 37 passes for 211 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 111 yards.
Defensively, the Rams forced four turnovers. Linebacker Mark Barron and defensive back Blake Countess each had an interception, while outside linebacker Matt Longacre and defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker had a fumble recovery apiece.
Like he has several times during the past few weeks, Houston head coach Bill O’Brien accepted blame for the loss.
“I haven’t done a good job coaching this team this year and that was my message to the team,” O’Brien said. “And I have to figure out how to coach this team better and try to get them to play better.”
Hopkins said O’Brien wasn’t the only one at fault.
“We’re the players. We go out there and play,” Hopkins said. “We’ve got to execute no matter what (O’Brien) calls. I wouldn’t give him all the blame because it’s 11 players on the field.”
Los Angeles finished with 443 yards in offense overall to 283 for Houston.
NOTES: Rams OLB Robert Quinn missed the game with an illness. Matt Longacre, who had a fumble recovery, started in his place. ... Houston WR Will Fuller V sustained a rib injury after taking a hit from S Lamarcus Joyner in the second quarter and did not return. ... Los Angeles RB Lance Dunbar was added to the active roster from the physically unable to perform list. ... The pregame ceremonies featured several salutes to military personnel and fallen service members. ... The Texans are 1-3 in the all-time series against the Rams. ... Both clubs resume play next Sunday. The Texans host the Arizona Cardinals, while the Rams visit the Minnesota Vikings.