Key stats are the story in Rams win

1:55 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second half at Reliant Stadium. The Rams won 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
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Be sure to catch the St. Louis Rams Tailgate Show every Sunday at 10:30 a.m on KSDK NewsChannel 5.


By Howard Balzer for KSDK Sports

(KSDK Sports) -- Last week we presented two sets of statistics that had a good chance of being key components for what might transpire between the Rams and Texans in Houston Sunday. Did they ever.

*First, there was this one: The Rams have converted 60 percent of their red-zone chances this season for touchdowns (9-for-15). That ranks ninth in the NFL. Houston ranks 30th defensively, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 10-of-14 red-zone trips.

Sunday, the Rams built a 17-6 halftime lead and 24-6 lead in the third quarter on the strength of three red-zone touchdowns in three trips. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to tight end Cory Harkey gave the Rams a 7-0 lead on a six-play, 65-yard drive helped by a 40-yard pass interference penalty.

Early in the second quarter, there was another 2-yard score, this one to tight end Lance Kendricks at the end of a 10-play, 80-yard drive. A 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Texans linebacker Brian Cushing aided that drive.

Finally, another 10-play, 80-yard drive culminated with a 4-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Brian Quick. There were no Houston penalties on that drive with key plays 11- and 34-yard passes to tight end Jared Cook, a 12-yard completion to wide receiver Austin Pettis and a 14-yard run by Zac Stacy.

For the season, the Rams are 12-for-18 scoring touchdowns in the red zone and all 12 have been passes. Four of the touchdowns have been on third down, with one on fourth down. Bradford has 17 total completions in the red zone, so he has just five completions that weren't touchdowns.

In their 18 red-zone trips, the Rams have 12 touchdowns and five. The one miss shouldn't count; it was at the end of the Jacksonville game when they had three kneeldowns to end the game starting at the 4-yard line.

Meanwhile, six different players have scored red-zone touchdowns: Pettis (3), Kendricks (3), Cook (2), Austin (2), Harkey (1) and Quick (1).  In latest league stats, with game remaining tonight, Rams jumped to third in red-zone offense and Texans dropped to last.

One other note:   Houston entered the game ranked one spot ahead of the Rams scoring eight touchdowns in 13 red-zone trips (61.5 percent). Sunday, when the game was still potentially up for grabs in the first half, the Texans had 63- and 78-yard drives that ended in the red zone with field goals. On one, the Texans were affected by a false start on third-and-goal at the Rams' 4-yard line. In the second half, Houston had two turnovers in the red zone and then scored a meaningless red-zone touchdown with 3:15 left in the game.

*Which brings us to the second set of numbers: The Rams are plus-2 in turnover ratio and have just six turnovers in five games. The Texans are minus-8 and have just three takeaways.

Following Sunday's game, the Rams are now plus-6 for the season and still have just six turnovers, while forcing four Texans turnovers. That puts Houston at minus-12 for the season and they still have just three takeaways.

Any hopes Houston had for a comeback ended on successive third-quarter takeaway touchdowns by the Rams: Daren Bates' 11-yard fumble return on a kickoff and Alec Ogletree's 98-yard interception return that pushed the lead from 24-6 to 38-6.

As Bradford said, "We come off the field and we're up 24-6 and the next time we take the field we're up 38-6. So those are two huge plays in the game and gave us a lot of momentum and kind of sealed the deal."

Quick's touchdown came with 7:42 to play in the third quarter and the Rams didn't have the ball on offense again until there was 11:56 left in the game.

Howard Balzer will be contributing to KSDK Sports throughout the 2013 season. Howard hosts PrimeTime Monday-Friday from 6-8 pm on CBS Sports 920. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


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