HOUSTON – Perhaps the most stressful part for Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay was wondering if maybe he took Matthew Stafford out a bit too soon in a rout of the Houston Texans.
Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters, and the Rams dominated the inept Texans in every way in a 38-22 win Sunday.
The Rams had a 38-0 lead when McVay pulled the veteran quarterback.
“Our coaches will tell you it’s a champagne problem to be in those spots," McVay said. “But that’s usually when I am the biggest basket case because it’s how do you really manage it?"
It’s the fourth straight victory for the Rams (7-1) and the seventh loss in a row for the Texans (1-7), their longest skid since dropping the final 14 games of the 2013 season.
Stafford threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp with about 9½ minutes left in the third, lifting Los Angeles to a 31-0 lead. That score was set up when Van Jefferson got free for a 68-yard reception two plays earlier.
Rookie Davis Mills was sacked by Aaron Donald on first down on Houston’s next possession and Mills fumbled on third down. He recovered the ball and got a pass off to David Johnson, but it was for a loss.
The Rams added another touchdown when Stafford pitched the ball to Robert Woods in the backfield and he dashed 16 yards to make it 38-0 late in the third.
Stafford, in his first year with the Rams after 12 seasons in Detroit, watched the rest of the game from the sideline, with John Wolford stepping in at quarterback.
“Happy to be where I am, trying to enjoy it, trying to embrace it and be as good as I can be for those guys and lead the way," Stafford said.
Kupp caught seven balls for 115 yards and Darrell Henderson had 90 yards rushing and two TDs, one on the ground and one on a 3-yard reception in the first quarter. Woods also had two touchdowns, scoring on a 2-yard reception in the second quarter.
The Rams have won 43 straight games, including the playoffs, when leading at halftime, which is the second-longest streak in NFL history behind a 49-game streak by the Packers beginning in 1926.
Houston scored each of its points after Stafford left the game. Rex Burkhead had a 1-yard scoring run with about eight minutes left, and Mills threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with five minutes to go.
Houston recovered an onside kick, and Mills threw a 9-yard touchdown reception to Brevin Jordan with about 2½ minutes left. The 2-point conversion trimmed the Rams' lead to 38-22.
“To be at a spot where you’re up 38-0 is really a tough thing to do in this league," McVay said. “Obviously, we would have liked to be able to finish the game better than what we did."
Mills fell to 0-6 as a starter since Tyrod Taylor was injured. He threw for 310 yards, but many of those yards came with the game long decided, and had an interception.
“I’m disappointed and frustrated, but I’m not discouraged with this football team simply because of what I saw at the end there ... they’re not going to quit," coach David Culley said.
The Rams got going when Henderson scored on their first possession. Matt Gay kicked a 27-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with about nine minutes left in the second quarter.
The Rams got the ball back only a few plays later when Ernest Jones stepped in front of a pass intended for Danny Amendola for his first career interception.
They cashed in on the mistake when Stafford connected with Woods on a 2-yard TD pass with about six minutes left in the first half.
A sack of Mills by Donald and Greg Gaines on third down forced another punt by Houston to give Los Angeles a chance to pad the lead before halftime.
Henderson collected his second score of the half when he ran untouched for a 1-yard touchdown to make it 24-0 less than a minute before halftime.
Houston had a shot to put points on the board before the break, but Kaʻimi Fairbairn’s 45-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.
Rams rookie receiver TuTu Atwell injured his shoulder in the third quarter. McVay didn't provide an update on his injury.
JACKSON ON THE MOVE?
DeSean Jackson was inactive Sunday after McVay said Friday that the team agreed to let the receiver look into trade options. McVay said he hadn't spoken to general manager Les Snead about it this weekend, but that he's sure they'll discuss it soon with Tuesday's trade deadline looming.
“I don’t think there’s any update on that," McVay said. “I know there’s been some dialogue with some teams, but I will be able to provide some further clarity (Monday) when we talk."
Rams: Visit the Titans Sunday night.
Texans: Visit the Dolphins on Sunday.
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