NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 Game Recap: Los Angeles Rams 38, Houston Texans 22

Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Greg Gaines (91) and defensive end Aaron Donald (99) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) attempt to sack Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In a Halloween beatdown, Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Houston Texans 38-22.

The Rams looked like a well-oiled machine as they moved to 7-1, while the Texans looked mediocre for most of the contest. Still, credit is due — after not scoring a touchdown in over 200 minutes of game time, Houston scored all 22 of their points in the fourth quarter. This loss drops the Texans to 1-7.

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Los Angeles Rams


While  Matthew Stafford's phenomenal play might somewhat be attributed to his opponent, the veteran quarterback finished the day 21-of-32 for 305 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with an 85.7 passing grade on PFF’s first review.

It was such a beatdown that Stafford ended his day after the third quarter. Filling in for him was John Wolford, who finished with five yards. 

Running Back

Darrell Henderson has been one of the most exciting running backs in the NFL this year, and this week was no different. On 14 carries, Henderson rushed for 90 yards, a touchdown and four forced missed tackles.

Sony Michel was also a part of the fun, tallying nine carries for 42 yards.

Henderson caught one pass for three yards and one of Stafford’s three passing touchdowns, while Michel caught two balls for 14 yards.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

As time expired at the end of the third quarter, Robert Woods took a handoff into the end zone and was completely untouched. That about sums up the Rams’ receivers in today’s day —they looked like a contender for the best receiving corps in the league.

Woods had a solid performance today. He caught three of his six targets for 88 yards and a receiving touchdown to make two total. It’s still worth noting that he dropped an easy reception.

The Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection continues to impress. Kupp, on his way to a 78.7 receiving grade, caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

Los Angeles receivers against Houston defenders
Receptions Targets Yards Receiving Grade*
Cooper Kupp 7 9 115 78.7
Van Jefferson 3 6 88 68.6
Robert Woods 3 8 35 62.9
Bennett Skowronek 3 3 30 69.3
Tyler Higbee 3 3 25 54.7

*All PFF grades will be reviewed and finalized by 12 p.m. EST Monday

Offensive Line

Part of the reason Stafford looked so dominant today was the excellent performance by the Rams’ offensive line. Three of their starters graded above 68.0, with center Brian Allen checking in with an 83.5 offensive grade on first review. Tackle Joseph Noteboom graded at 71.2, and Rob Havenstein graded at 69.0 overall.

The unit's pass blocking was near-perfection. Only a single pressure was allowed by a starter, and not a single player graded below 65.0. 

Defensive Line

Aaron Donald looked phenomenal today, generating two sacks and four total pressures, but Leonard Floyd had a remarkable day, as well. Floyd recorded three sacks and five total pressures on the way to an 83.0 pass-rushing grade on first review.

Additionally, Greg Gaines and A'Shawn Robinson took care of stopping the run by recording two tackles each. They scored 73.4 and 78.4 run-defense grades, respectively, on PFF’s first review.

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo also got in on the sack action with his one, which rounds out the Rams’ five total sacks on Houston.


Ernest Jones had an outstanding day from a coverage perspective. He earned a coverage grade of 83.0 and allowed only nine yards on three targets. He also snagged the only interception of the day.


The Rams’ secondary didn’t look amazing, but that is a luxury you can afford when you face the Houston Texans. Jalen Ramsey was the highest-graded member of the secondary when it came to coverage. He allowed five receptions on six targets for 31 yards, forcing an incompletion on the other. This led to a coverage grade of 75.0.

David Long Jr. was the second-best member, earning a coverage grade of 67.9. The member of the unit to allow a touchdown was Dont’e Deayon, the fifth-year corner from Boise State.

Houston Texans


Everybody is entitled to a good scare on Halloween, and the Texans’ offense, led by Davis Mills, was frighteningly bad.

The Stanford product ended the day with 310 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in garbage time. He completed 29 of his 38 attempts, recording an 82.9% adjusted completion percentage.

Running Back

The Texans traded Mark Ingram II to the Saints last Wednesday, which means the Houston rushing attack is now a committee effort. Of the four different rushers, Rex Burkhead led the team with four carries for 21 yards and a late touchdown. In total, the team rushed for a measly 44 yards.

Oct 31, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans running back Rex Burkhead (28) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Wide Receiver/Tight End

Brandin Cooks, who tweeted his displeasure with the team trading away Ingram earlier this week, also found the end zone for Houston. Late in the fourth quarter, Mills found him to shrink L.A.’s lead to 24 points. Cooks caught all six of his targets for 83 yards.

Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan caught another Mills touchdown the next drive to make it a 16-point game, following a successful two-point conversion. This was only a part of a phenomenal day by the rookie. He caught three of his four targets for 41 yards and averaged 4.10 yards per route run. This led to a receiving grade of 90.4 — the best receiving grade on the team by a lot.

All in all, the Texans’ receivers had a great game. Every single receiver caught 100% of the catchable passes thrown their way.

Offensive Line

The Texans’ offensive line might as well have not shown up today. Geron Christian Sr. was the only lineman who graded above 53.5. Impressively, he earned a 72.2 offensive grade on first review. He was Mills’ only form of protection — he graded an 81.6 in pass-blocking, and the second-highest graded at 48.1.

In total, this unit allowed 17 total pressures.

Defensive Line

On the other side of the ball, the Houston defensive line was better but still lackluster. Edge Jonathan Greenard was the highest-graded player of the unit at 71.1. Three other players — Ross Blacklock, Roy Lopez and Jordan Jenkins also graded above 65.0. These four in total generated four tackles, a sack on backup quarterback Wolford and not much more.

The defensive line only had six total pressures. Not a great look, especially if you are playing a quarterback who has MVP hopes.


The Texans’ linebacker play was interesting, to say the least. Christian Kirksey, who played 60 defensive snaps, will likely finish PFF's grading review process with a 60.0-plus PFF grade. Right behind him with 48 snaps, though, was Kamu Grugier-Hill, who notched a 26.8 grade on first review. Grugier-Hill allowed six receptions on eight targets for 110 yards, five first downs and a touchdown.

Still, Zach Cunningham played well and was rewarded with an 84.0 overall grade. He recorded two tackles and two assists.


It’s hard to say the Texans’ secondary played well when all five players with at least 29 coverage snaps allowed double-digit receiving yards. The worst offenders were Vernon Hargreaves III, who graded at 39.1 in coverage, and Lonnie Johnson Jr., who graded at 34.0.

This duo allowed 111 total yards — over a third of Stafford’s total.

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