Rams Thrill Fans In Latest Victory

beat Texans 33-7

Welcome home Los Angeles Rams fans. The Coliseum finally became home field advantage for the Rams as they pounced on the Houston Texans, 33-7, to improve their 2017 record to 7-2. The NFC West Division leaders turned a tight contest into a rout in the second half scoring 24 points while the defense continued their dominance with four punishing turnovers.

It took the 11th game at the Coliseum since the Rams return to Los Angeles for the fans to finally embrace their team with passion. Interestingly, it occurred when an apparent L.A. interception return for a touchdown was negated by a penalty that set the crowd off. The immediate roaring boos rained down on the field but the clouds finally parted for the faithful.

Early in the third quarter Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree intercepted Houston quarterback Tom Savage's pass near midfield, swept right and high-stepped it into the end zone as the fans prematurely rejoiced. Defensive holding on Ogletree nullified the score but the temporary setback was the unifying force between the team and their formerly reluctant fanbase.

Two minutes later the Rams connected for the signature play of the season: a 94-yard bomb from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Robert Woods for a scintillating touchdown. That visual beauty jump-started the sluggish Ram offense and buried the Texans. The now 16-7 lead was insurmountable despite 24-plus minutes still remaining in the game. The crowd was finally sold: hook, line and sinker.

"I thought there was some good energy and the fans were excited today, players made a lot of big time plays all across the board," said Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. "It was good to be able to have the fans out here and we enjoyed that atmosphere for sure."

Woods on the 94-yard touchdown: "I heard the play call, I looked up, checked the coverage and pretty much saw the matchup and ran my route. I felt like I beat the guy and took three steps and saw the ball fly out. The ball was on the money. Jared Goff put it right in the palm of my hands so I was just able to catch it and run. Saw the end zone and just a race to the end zone."

Goff and the Ram offense came out flat in the first half against the Texans. Once again it was kicker Greg Zuerlein's three field goals that gave them the tenuous 9-7 halftime lead. The Ram defense played a steady bend-don't-break first half yielding only one Houston score. Savage completed a 26-yard short pass and run to wide receiver Bruce Ellington in the second quarter for their only score.

The Los Angeles defense produced four turnovers, two in each half. Linebacker Matt Longacre recovered a fumble on a sack by defensive end Aaron Donald during Houston's opening drive of the game. That set up Zuerlein's first field goal, a 27-yarder.

Linebacker Mark Barron had a crucial interception at the Ram 10-yard line late in the second quarter stopping a Texan short drive that reached the red zone. The Rams responded with a Zuerlein 50-yard field goal just before half.

The Rams sealed the victory with back-to-back-to-back scrimmage plays late in the third quarter. First Goff hit wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a 17-yard touchdown pass to give L.A. a 23-7 lead. On Houston's first play from scrimmage after the kickoff Ram defensive end Tyrunn Walker recovered a fumble at the Texan 12-yard line.

One play later Goff threw 12-yard touchdown pass to Woods. The one-two-three combination knocked Houston through the ropes, further cementing the fast-growing relationship between the Rams and their now-crazed fans. Zuerlein added a 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for good measure.

"The play before we had ran, three plays before and I missed it. I didn't throw to Sammy, he was open I didn't see him. I checked it down and he came to the sideline and talked about it. 'Sammy, if we get this again, it's coming again' and sure enough got it again," said Goff.

"Same coverage, rolled right in here. Hit him and then the next play was great play-call, I thought just getting him in a screen and open field with (tackle Andrew) Whitworth running out there and he did the rest."

Goff finished the game with a career game-high 355 yards on 25/37 passes and three touchdowns. Running back Todd Gurley led the team in rushing with 68 yards on 11 carries including a 34-yard jaunt. He also caught six passes for 68 yards including a 43-yard reception.

Woods had spectacular numbers with eight receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper Kupp had six catches for 47 yards. Watkins caught two for 41 yards and one touchdown. Both catches came on back-to-back plays. Tight end Tyler Higbee caught two for 22 yards and Pharoh Cooper also caught two for 12 yards.

Los Angeles now travel to take on the surprising 7-2 Minnesota this Sunday, November 19 at the Vikings brand new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Game will feature current-Viking and former-Ram quarterback Case Keenum taking on his understudy and teammate from last season, Jared Goff. Minnesota currently leads the NFC North Division by two games over the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

The Ram fans deserve a huge assist in Sunday's big win. Goff looks forward to their growing support: "We're only two years in to being in LA, so still building that fan base, but I think today may have taken the next step and had a little bit more of a family feel and hopefully we can keep that going."

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.


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