Coming off a week 5 win at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the St. Louis Rams headed down south to Houston to take on the Texans. To say Houston has been struggling has been an understatement, as quarterback inconsistency, head coaching decisions and overall bad play has turned the fans against their team in recent weeks. Still, the Texans had a chance in front of their home crowd to turn things around against a Rams defense that has been one of the worst this season. Instead, the Texans fell flat and the Rams for once took advantage of a struggling team's mistakes and came away with a very impressive win on the road.
Sam Bradford - He only attempted 17 passes but he completed 13 of them, with 3 of them being touchdowns. For the season, only Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tony Romo have thrown more touchdown passes and only Manning and Brees have thrown less interceptions. The Rams have seemed to have shifted from their original offensive scheme of being wide open and it seems to fit what Bradford can do the best right now. I feel more comfortable with the Rams chances of winning when Bradford isn't gunslinging the ball 40 or 50 times a game
Zac Stacy - I believe the Rams have found the heir apparent to Steven Jackson. The Vanderbilt rookie averaged almost 6 yards a carry behind an offensive line that had their way with the Texans front 7. The Rams looked to have gone back to what they do best, running the ball to set up the play action pass. If Stacy can continue to put the Rams in 2nd or 3rd and short, the Rams offense could continue to churn out yards and points, taking the pressure off Bradford to do it all.
Offensive line - The Rams offensive line basically made JJ Watts a non-factor in this game. They also did a great job of opening holes for the running game and were able to keep Bradford on his feet for most of the game. With another huge test coming up this weekend against the Carolina front 7, it was nice to see the Rams push around the Texans.
Alec Ogletree - The Rams took a risk by drafting Ogletree so high and so far, it has delivered. The rookie leads the team in tackles and against the Texans, recorded 11 stops, 1 forced fumble and touchdown return on an interception. The Rams lack playmakers defensively so seeing Ogletree making plays really bodes well for this team being able to change momentum at a moment's notice.
Michael Brockers - Playing in front of family and friends, the Rams first round pick of 2012 had 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. With Kendall Lankford up front, the Rams have two very capable nose tackles that can help stuff an opposing team's rush attack.
Special Teams - For the first time all season, the were no Rams penalties on special teams. To make it better, the Rams actually scored points when they recovered a fumble off a kick off.
Red Zone efficiency - Surprisingly, the Rams are one of the better teams in scoring touchdowns once they get inside the 20. The problem has been this team has struggled consistency to do so this season. It's simple math to do know that putting up 6 points once you are in the red zone is better then getting 3 on a field goal.
Defense - Yes, the defense forced 3 turnovers and scored a touchdown but they still have a helluva time stopping the run. Arian Foster looked like he could have rushed for over 200 yards had the Texans decided to keep up with the rushing attack. With games on the horizon against guys like D'angelo Williams, Matt Forte and Marshawn Lynch, the Rams need to find a way to close down gaps and stuff the run or they are going to continue to get beat up on. The Rams young secondary also continues to struggle in coverage. There continues to be too many open spaces where receivers/tight ends are running wide open. Good teams will continue to exploit that until the Rams make some adjustments to help these young kids.
Given the Rams history on the road, I didn't think they had a chance to pull off the shocker. Instead, we saw some maturity from this young Rams team with their ability to take advantage of another teams mistakes. In most years, the Rams would have made just as many mistakes as the Texans and somehow, Houston would have come out of this game with a win.
At 3-3, the Rams are still hanging around. However, their remaining schedule is the 2nd toughest in the NFL. This week, they travel to Carolina to take on Cam Newton and company. Newton presents a whole different type of problem for this Rams defense with his ability to run and pass. Jeff Fisher's bunch is going to have to find ways to slow down the Panthers while also putting up points offensively against a Panthers defense that has been pretty good this season.