Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 8: Rams 38, Texans 22 — Four Winners, Four Losers

Davis Mills had another rough Sunday.
Davis Mills had another rough Sunday. Photo by Jack Gorman
Here is all you need to know about the unwatchable mess that was the Houston Texans in their 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium — the loudest cheer all afternoon, from what was left of the crowd at that point with the Texans trailing 24-0 at half, came when the team's mascot, Toro, was officially given his award for Best NFL Mascot.

It wasn't exactly a standing ovation, but it was a reception that involved several dozen people clapping, which was far more applause (or reaction of any kind, period) than was generated when it mattered by what has quickly morphed into the worst coached, worst prepared, and least inspiring them in the NFL. If football relegated teams to lower leagues due to poor performance, a la the English Premier League in soccer, the Texans would be playing 2022 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Let's get this over with.... winners and losers, GO!

click to enlarge Lonnie Johnson was chasing Rams all day long. - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
Lonnie Johnson was chasing Rams all day long.
Photo by Jack Gorman
4. Rams skill players
In the run game, Darrell Henderson spent most of the afternoon going untouched for at least the first eight or nine yards of every run. In the passing game, the Rams not only thrashed the soft spots in Lovie Smith's scheme, but receivers made big plays down the field, as well. Cooper Kupp had a 52 yard catch and run, when he somehow got matched up with linebacker Christian Kirksey. Van Jefferson somehow got behind Lonnie Johnson for a 68 yard play. I say "somehow" because Johnson routinely lines up about 40 yards off the line fo scrimmage, and still seems to allow a couple deep shots to be completed each game. There were times where this game felt like the Rams versus a scout team, where just for fun, they tried out some plays, because they knew they could easily go back to Henderson getting 10 yards a pop when they needed it. The biggest beneficiary of all? Glad you asked....
click to enlarge Matthew Stafford has a new lease on life in Los Angeles. - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
Matthew Stafford has a new lease on life in Los Angeles.
Photo by Jack Gorman
3. Matthew Stafford
He spent 13 seasons in the football prison that was Detroit, getting paid very well to have his head handed to him every Sunday, and win nothing of consequence for over a decade. Then, he gets traded to Los Angeles, to a team coached by Sean McVay, to a team with weapons everywhere and a good offensive line. Matthew Stafford got out of prison, and didn't just get an apartment and a job. He became a VIP guest at a five star resort. Don't look now, but if Stafford is able to lead the Rams to a couple Super Bowls, all those counting stats he was piling up in meaningless Lions games will become part of a very interesting case for the Hall of Fame.
click to enlarge Halloween celebrants could start early on the festivities, thanks to the Texans' ineptitude. - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
Halloween celebrants could start early on the festivities, thanks to the Texans' ineptitude.
Photo by Jack Gorman
2. Parents of trick or treaters
Let's face it, the only winners in uniform on Sunday were those wearing Rams uniforms, and it's just too depressing to devote this entire portion of a recap to the opposition, even if they deserve it. So let's acknowledge all the parents who attended Sunday's game, and were able to leave at halftime because the game was essentially over. No rushing around for them to get ready for trick or treating last night. They could take their time, drive home safely, and get the kids dressed up in plenty of time to go get some scrumptious candy. Good job, Texans! If you're going to lose, lose in a way that allows for a pleasant Halloween!

1.  Mark Ingram
Ingram was traded late last week to the New Orleans Saints. Here he was at his first press conference back in New Orleans:
That's the look of a lucky man.


4. Desmond King
As the almighty "culture" the Texans are supposedly building continues to crumble to the ground, now comes Desmond King being deactivated for Sunday's game because of a discipline issue.
The trade deadline is Tuesday, and it could be a feeding frenzy with general managers everywhere picking the bones on the carcass that is the Texans' roster.

3. Ka'imi Fairbairn
At the end of a first half in which the Rams thoroughly dismantled the Texans in every way, the Texans did manage to maneuver their way into field goal position. Down 24-0, it appeared that, at the very least, they wouldn't get shut out for a whole half. So they lined up for a 44 yard field goal, and the fourth highest paid kicker in the league did what he has done way too often this season —- shanked his attempt. Fairbairn's contract is another "Bill O'Brien as GM" problem that probably can't be rectified until after the season.

2. Attendance figures
The announced attendance for the game was slightly more than 66,000. I can tell you, as someone who sits in the press box and can see virtually every seat from where I sit, the ACTUAL attendance was slightly LESS than 66,000. And by "slightly," I mean about 15,000 to 20,000 less than 66,000.

1. Bettors who took "RAMS -16.5"
As far as bad gambling beats go, does it get much worse than backing a team who's laying 16.5, up 38-0 with around 10 minutes to go in the game, and then losing by half a point on a meaningless two point conversion? Because that's what happened to Rams backers on Sunday. Wow.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast