Week 12 Game Recap: St. Louis Rams 33, Houston Texans 27
What you need to know
QB Marc Bulger was out with a shoulder injury, so enter QB Jamie Martin. If you blinked, you missed him, and then rubbed your eyes wondering who was under center for the Rams. Martin was under center for just the first two St. Louis series, and he was constantly under pressure from the Texans defense. Martin was sacked twice and attempted just three passes before he left the game with a concussion.
As for Martinís replacement, his name is Ryan Fitzpatrick, and he is a rookie from Harvard. This was his first NFL action, and he absolutely delivered. Fitzpatrick threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, throwing early and often to WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. Each receiver finished with a touchdown each, and Holt logged a season high ten catches for 130 yards.
RB Steven Jackson added the running portion of a balanced Ram offensive attack, gaining over 100 yards on 25 carries for the game. The Rams remain a perfect 4-0 when Jackson has gained at least 90 yards on the ground this season.
QB David Carr had his best day of the season, and it all came in the first half of the game. Carr threw for three touchdowns and 171 yards before halftime. WR Andre Johnson was the primary recipient of Carrís passes, as Johnson registered his first touchdown and 100 yard game this season.
RB Dominick Davis carried the ball 25 times, but managed just over three yards a carry. He did find the end zone as he caught a touchdown from QB Carr as a hot receiver on a Ramsí blitz effort in the first half.
Houstonís defense had the Rams quarterbacks under constant pressure, as they recorded a franchise record seven sacks and knocked QB Jamie Martin out of the game. The sack output was remarkable, as the Texans only had 14 entering Week 12.
The Texans posted a 24-3 advantage at halftime, but just could not play with a lead. They had played well until their only turnover of the game, a tipped pass that was intercepted in the fourth quarter. From that point on, the Rams had all the momentum and scored the final 20 points of the contest.
What you ought to know
Fitzpatrick had to enter the game in the second quarter once QB Jamie Martin was sidelined with a concussion. He settled into the pocket nicely, completing over 60% of his passes and throwing for over 300 yards. Fitzpatrick missed a few receivers, but his offensive line was a sieve. The Texans finished with seven sacks, which was equal to 50% of their entire season total before facing the Rams.
Fitzpatrick handled the pressure admirably, rolling out and scrambling when he needed to buy time or yardage. He got the ball to WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt regularly, which is never a bad idea for any quarterback. The support of RB Steven Jackson (110 yards rushing) kept the defense honest, as the Rams did not abandon the running game despite the comeback effort.
Fitzpatrick is the first quarterback in the history of the NFL to have come from Harvard. He led Harvard to a perfect 10-0 record last season, and against the Texans he showed all the tools for an NFL quarterback. He had accuracy, touch, arm strength and the ability to throw the deep ball. While his final touchdown was his longest, the 56 yard scoring throw to WR Kevin Curtis was mostly yardage after the catch. The best long ball of the day for Fitzpatrick was the 43 yard toss to WR Isaac Bruce, which landed perfectly in his hands in stride on a fourth down and six.
Martin, starting for the injured Marc Bulger, left the game in the first quarter with a concussion. The offensive line gave Martin little protection and he was injured on a first quarter sack and replaced by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was later reported the Martin had experienced blurred vision and will need further testing.
Jackson topped the century mark, gaining 110 yards rushing and scoring the second Rams touchdown in Week 12. The Rams continue to emphasize a balanced offense under HC Joe Vitt, and that was evident in Jacksonís touches. He had 59 yards on just nine carries at halftime, but the majority of Jacksonís carries came in the second half despite trailing for all 30 minutes.
Jackson had three runs of over ten yards, the first coming on his opening carry for 18 yards. His last carry of the opening quarter went for 13, and he added a 19 yard gain in the third quarter. His touchdown came immediately after losing a one yard score on an instant replay reversal. Jackson also contributed a key fumble recovery after teammate WR Isaac Bruce forced a fumble after an interception.
Faulk had just two touches, both in the second half. He made a nice run for five yards and a first down in the third quarter, and added a nine yard reception in the fourth.
Holt had another Pro Bowl caliber afternoon, catching virtually anything thrown in his direction. Holt had an amazing 18 targets, as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick felt most comfortable looking to him and WR Isaac Bruce. Holt finished the day with a season high ten catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. While none of the receptions were for over 20 yards, four of them went for 19, and three of those four were in the final quarter.
Holt really elevated in the fourth quarter and overtime, catching five passes for 76 yards after the third period. He also drew a 35 yard pass interference call that resulted in the Rams getting a first and goal that resulted in RB Steven Jacksonís touchdown. Holt also contributed on special teams, as he recovered the onside kick in the final minute of regulation that allowed the Rams to tie the game.
Bruce caught four passes against the Texans, two in each half. The first catch was for 20 yards, and was the first ever pass completion by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was also the pass that put Bruce over 12,000 career receiving yards, making him the eleventh player in the NFL to reach that mark. Bruce later added a 17 yard grab before halftime.
Bruce caught a perfect 43 yard deep ball in the final minute for a touchdown to draw the Rams within a field goal for his fourth and final catch of the day. This was preceded by a 14 yard catch on the same drive.
McDonald was not utilized by the Rams until the fourth quarter. He caught two short passes for 18 yards in the fourth period.
Curtis was noticeably absent for most of the game, as the return of WR Isaac Bruce to full duty relegated Curtis back to the #3 WR option. Curtis was not targeted until the third quarter, a deep ball down the middle that sailed over his head. His second target was batted away, but his final chance was the biggest. Curtis caught a short pass near the line of scrimmage in overtime, and then took the ball 56 total yards for a touchdown to win the game.
Hedgecock caught just one pass for 15 yards in the fourth quarter.
Wilkins was perfect for the game, making a 37 yard field goal in the second quarter and another of 47 yards to send the game to overtime in the final minute of regulation. He also converted all three extra point attempts.
The Texans ran the ball 31 times for 124 yards, but their primary ball carrier was kept in check. RB Dominick Davis had 25 carries for a scant 78 yards. The ability of the Rams to stop the Texans from chewing up both yardage and clock with a lead allowed St. Louis the chance to mount a comeback in the game.
David Carr had the best game of the season, throwing for three scores and 171 yards before halftime. WR Andre Johnson had his first 100 yard game and touchdown of the season against a Rams secondary that had a combined total of just six career NFL games started. St. Louis did manage to post three sacks and one interception.
|QB David Carr, Pass: 25 - 34 - 293 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 39 - 0|
David Carr had a magnificent first half, throwing for three touchdowns, 171 yards and completing 13 of 17 attempts. Carr even added 28 more yards rushing before halftime, as he continues to be the third most productive running QB in the NFL (trailing only Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks).
Carrís favorite target was WR Andre Johnson, who had his first 100 yard game and first touchdown on the season. Carr nearly reached 300 yards passing and had just one blemish on the performance against the Rams, as one of his four throws to RB Dominick Davis bounced off his hands and was intercepted.
|RB Domanick Davis, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 25 - 78 - 0, Rec: 3 - 42 - 1 (4 targets)|
Davis had 28 touches and over 100 all purpose yards for the Texans, amassing 75 of them before halftime. Davis scored the second Houston touchdown of the game on a 30 yard catch and run. QB David Carr was blitzed, but was able to get the ball to Davis who took the catch the distance.
Davis carried the ball 25 times, but managed to get just 78 yards as he averaged just over three yards a carry. Only one of his runs was for over 10 yards, as he ran for 13 yards in the first quarter on his fifth attempt.
Davis put his hands on every ball that was thrown to him, but only three of the four targets went for a catch to Davis. On his final target, the ball skipped off his hands to the Ramís LB Pisa Tinoisamoa for QB Carrís only interception. The play did change the momentum of the game away from the Texans and sparked the Ramsí comeback.
Davis was also back to return the first punt of the game, but the experiment was short lived as it was his only return.
Wells had two touches on offense, a carry and a catch. He ran for ten yards on the first scoring drive for the Texans in the first quarter. He also added a 19 yard catch in the second quarter. Both plays were good for first downs.
Wells also fielded a short kickoff in the final minute of the first half and returned it for 40 yards, setting up Houston for a short scoring drive before halftime.
Johnson had his best game of the year, recording over 100 yards and scoring for the first times this season. Johnson showed why he is considered a #1 receiver for the Texans, making defenders miss in the secondary and catching balls everywhere on the field. His first catch was his longest, 33 yards, and was the only catch of over 25 yards for Johnson against the Rams. Johnson did not break 20 yards again until his final catch for 21 yards in overtime.
Gaffney had a slow start, catching just two of his first five targets. As the day grew long, Gaffney caught his final four looks. All six of his catches were for short or medium yardage, ranging from three to 14 yards, and four of the receptions garnered the Texans a first down.
Bradford had two balls thrown to him, both in the second quarter, and he caught both of them. The second opportunity went for a ten yard touchdown, QB David Carrís third touchdown pass of the first half.
Rivers caught just one pass for 13 yards in overtime.
Brown made the first four kicks of the game, three extra points and a field goal of 39 yards all before halftime. His first attempt in the second half, a 46 yard field goal, sailed wide left. Brown later added a 35 yard field goal in the fourth quarter, but the one miss proved to be an important three points.
Houston allowed RB Steven Jackson to gain 110 yards on 25 carries and a score. The Rams did not emphasize the run beyond a balanced attack, as they were trailing for much of the game and had to throw to catch up, but still managed to gain seven first downs on the ground. Even Rams QB Fitzpatrick managed to gain 23 yard on just three attempts.
The Texans recorded a franchise record seven sacks, equal to half of their season total entering Week 12. Despite the consistent pressure and knocking out the starting Rams QB (Jamie Martin), they still allowed backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw for over 300 yards and three scores in his NFL debut.