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St. Louis Rams vs. Houston Texans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for St. Louis

Jamal CollierAnalyst IIIDecember 22, 2016

St. Louis Rams vs. Houston Texans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for St. Louis

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Through five weeks, the St. Louis Rams had yet to win a road game. That changed in Week 6; the young squad grew up fast.

    When the halftime score was 17-6 in favor of St. Louis, the second half promised to be a penalty-filled disaster in which the Rams squandered their lead and eventually were run out of Reliant Stadium. That’s the type of team this has been in 2013. Instead, St. Louis unleashed a trio of touchdowns—one on offense, one on defense and one on special teams—in the third quarter, stretched their lead to 32 and won by 25.

    It was a good day for Rams fans.

Quarterback

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Sam Bradford threw 10 passes and completed seven to six different receivers for 50 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He wasn’t sacked and entered the break with a 120.8 passer rating.

    He was getting hit, but he made plays anyway.

    Bradford finished with three touchdowns and a career-low 117 passing yards on 16 attempts, but he didn’t have to chuck it for the St. Louis Rams to come away with the win. He completed 12 balls to nine different pass-catchers overall.

     

    Grade: A

Running Back

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Rookie running back Zac Stacy carried the load for the St. Louis Rams in the first half, amassing 56 rushing yards on 11 carries and five more on a catch. Daryl Richardson added 18 yards on a screen pass—a screen pass!—in the first half.

    Stacy’s longest run of the day went for 18 yards. He rushed 18 times for 79 yards and thumped Houston Texans tacklers every time he got a chance. He ran hard.

    Richardson and Benny Cunningham combined for 16 yards on six rushes. Ninety-five yards on 24 carries isn’t a fantastic average (3.96), but it’s a lot better than the Rams had as a team coming in (3.05).

     

    Grade: A

Wide Receiver

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Nine different St. Louis Rams caught a pass from Sam Bradford, but his four wide receivers combined for just five catches (on eight targets), 39 receiving yards and a Brian Quick touchdown. Quick’s score negates a curious play where he was pelted in the back by a Bradford pass that he did not anticipate.

    The wideouts’ services weren’t particularly required to advance the ball on this day.

     

    Grade: C

Tight End

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Bradford threw at three tight ends in Week 6. Jared Cook caught both of his targets for a team-high 45 yards, Cory Harkey caught his one look for a two-yard touchdown, and Lance Kendricks cashed in on one of his two with a two-yard score of his own.

    Four grabs for 49 yards and two scores is a pretty nice day at the office when you’re dealing with just five targets.

     

    Grade: A

Offensive Line

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    Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    J.J. Watt was almost completely stonewalled against the St. Louis Rams. He was credited with just one QB hit.

    No tackles. No sacks. No pass deflections.

    Actually, the Houston Texans totaled two tackles for loss and three QB hits on the afternoon. Sam Bradford wasn’t sacked, Houston didn’t bat any balls and the Rams finished one yard shy of 100 rushing on the day.

    They came in averaging 66.4 rushing yards per game.

     

    Grade: A

Defensive Line

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    Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Michael Brockers had himself a game against the Houston Texans: The second-year defensive tackle recorded seven solo tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Kendall Langford added six solos of his own, and Chris Long and Robert Quinn each contributed a sack.

    Quinn also forced a fumble.

     

    Grade: B

Linebacker

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Arian Foster gave the St. Louis Rams more tape to use for correcting their run defense. The Houston Texans star covered 198 total yards on 24 touches (8.25 yards per touch), but he did not find the end zone. Ben Tate added 28 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches, most of which came after the game was decided.

    Foster schooled St. Louis on multiple occasions—his longest reception was 41 yards, and he gained double-digit yardage on five separate carries—but the Rams got better as the game wore on. Foster’s last run that covered more than 10 yards was a 22-yard scamper early in the second quarter.

    Alec Ogletree brought him down and went on to star for the rest of the game.

    After that play—and an earlier forced fumble—Ogletree was in on four tackles and returned a T.J. Yates interception for 98 yards, which extends the Texans’ woeful streak of offensive pick-sixes to five straight games.

     

    Grade: B

Defensive Back

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    Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    Cortland Finnegan didn’t get to renew his rivalry with Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson, who caught seven of eight targets for 88 yards against the St. Louis Rams in Week 6. Johnson’s running mate, DeAndre Hopkins, caught three passes for 47 yards on five looks.

    Outside of those guys, Houston wide receivers caught all five of their targets for 29 yards. That 83 percent completion rate is less than ideal, but the Rams will take 9.1 yards per target allowed to wideouts when they’re being chased all afternoon.

    Janoris Jenkins had a nice interception in the end zone, ran parallel to the goal line and decided to take it out for another big return—but he was brought down two yards later. St. Louis, predictably, went three-and-out after that play.

     

    Grade: B

Special Teams

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    Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    The Rams finally made it through a game without a special teams penalty. The return game wasn’t a huge factor—Benny Cunningham and Tavon Austin combined for 64 yards on three kick returns and no punt returns—but the Rams came up big on kick coverage.

    Just after Brian Quick put the Rams up, 24-6, Rodney McLeod forced a Keshawn Martin fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Daren Bates returned it 11 yards for St. Louis’ second touchdown in six seconds, which blew the doors open and put the Rams up by 25.

    Greg Zuerlein was 6-of-6 on kicks (one 42-yard field goal and five extra points). Johnny Hekker only punted three times, averaged 45 yards per punt and put one inside the 20, with no touchbacks.

     

    Grade: A

     

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