Studs and duds from Rams’ Week 8 win over Texans

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At the midway point in the season, the Rams seem to be hitting their stride, especially on offense. They’ve now scored 38 points in two of their last three games, winning each of their last four by at least nine points.

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp have been the catalysts on that side of the ball and always seem to be on the same page, connecting for yet another big game in the Rams’ 38-22 win over the Texans on Sunday afternoon.

They were among the top performers in the team’s Week 8 victory, as were Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald and others. Here are our studs and duds from the victory.

Stud: Matthew Stafford

Stafford only played three quarters before getting pulled with the offensive starters, yet he still put up huge numbers. He threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns on only 32 attempts, completing 21 of his passes and finishing with a passer rating of 127.7. One of his only mistakes was a high throw to Cooper Kupp in the end zone on a pass that could’ve gone for a touchdown, but other than that, Stafford was nearly perfect.

Stud: Cooper Kupp

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kupp had seven catches, 100 yards and a touchdown. Again. He’s been an absolute machine this season, continuing his historically great start with seven more catches for 115 yards and a score. Stafford continues to target him regularly, throwing nine passes his way on Sunday, and he’s turning those opportunities into big plays – like the 52-yarder he had against the Texans.

Stud: Aaron Donald

Donald could not be blocked by Houston in this one. He was in the backfield quickly on several occasions, whether it was quick swim moves or by using his sheer power to bully offensive linemen backwards. He had 1.5 sacks and two QB hits, finishing with three total tackles in the win. It’s just about the same story every week with Donald because no team truly has an answer for him.

Stud: Darrell Henderson Jr.

Henderson has quietly been a huge part of this offense and he put together what might’ve been his best performance of the season. He rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries, scoring two touchdowns – one receiving and one on the ground. The running lanes were massive, but Henderson broke tackles and didn’t miss any holes, either, maximizing on the chances he got. His last carry of the game came with 8:40 left in the third quarter, so he could’ve had a really big game had it not been a blowout.

Stud: Ernest Jones

Jones got a game ball from Sean McVay after making his first career start and pulling down an interception, helping set up Robert Woods’ 2-yard touchdown in the first half. He led the team with nine tackles and also added a half-sack with two total QB hits in addition to the interception, playing well in his first NFL start. The Rams should be encouraged by the way he played in place of the recently traded Kenny Young.

Stud: Leonard Floyd

Floyd had a field day against the Texans’ offensive line, consistently beating the left tackle and generating pressure on Davis Mills. He finished the afternoon with two sacks and had a handful of hurries, continuing what has been a great 2021 season for the Rams’ top edge rusher. He’s been worth every penny the Rams gave him this offseason.

Dud: Tutu Atwell

Even before he got hurt, Atwell looked uncomfortable as the Rams’ punt returner. He didn’t catch the ball cleanly – it almost seemed to catch him – and failed to find much room after fielding it, only gaining 2 yards on three attempts. The Rams need someone more reliable and trustworthy in the return game because Atwell doesn’t look like a punt returner.

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