Ernest Jones Makes The Most Of His Rams Starting Debut

Los Angeles Rams Running Back Darrell Henderson. Photo Credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams
Los Angeles Rams Running Back Darrell Henderson. Photo Credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Los Angeles Rams led 38-0 in the fourth quarter against a listless Houston Texans team. Yet, after the Lions threw the kitchen sink at the Rams a week ago, there were questions as to whether or not the Rams could start and finish a game without any drama. They came into Houston without DeSean Jackson, who requested a trade, and linebacker Kenny Young, who was traded for “financial reasons,” so there was already a little drama. However, once the opening kickoff commenced in front of a sparse yet costumed crowd there was little conflict to be found.

Matthew Stafford (21/32, 305 yards, 3 TDs) easily drove downfield and threw a TD to Darrell Henderson (14 Car, 90 yards 1 TD, 1 Rec TD), and from then on it was all Rams. On defense, rookie linebacker Ernest Jones made his debut, and what a debut it was.

Ernest Jones started in place of Kenny Young and the third-round pick had himself a game! Even against the rebuilding Texans, Ernest Jones’ stat line was impressive with 9 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and a pick. The defense absolutely took care of business today only allowing 73 yards of offense by the fourth quarter.

Jalen Ramsey made tackles that would make a linebacker smile. He had a particularly great play on the drive that saw Houston pinned in their own end zone. Texans QB Taylor Mills threw the ball at the goal line and Ramsey made the tackle right at the catch and one handily smacked the ball out. He was all over the field today as was the rest of the defense.

Aaron Donald had a one-armed sack and had 1.5 sacks on the day; Leonard Floyd had two sacks of his own, and Greg Gaines was all over the backfield registering 0.5 sacks himself.

The defense was disciplined today and didn’t give up any big plays, any ridiculous third-downs, or allow the Texans to bleed the clock on long drives. That’s a big plus and while Tennessee will be a much bigger litmus test for them, this was a nice tune-up game.

Offensively, the Rams were pretty much able to score at will. Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel were able to run the ball with relative ease despite not having Andrew Whitworth in at tackle. Joe Noteboom handled himself well in relief duty. Through the air, Stafford found seven different receivers including rookie Ben Skowronek who got some playing time late in the game.

The DeSean Jackson drama would have some lingering effects on special teams (more on that later) but in the passing game, Van Jefferson showed once again he’s more than capable of being a deep threat catching a deep ball in the third. Robert Woods had some uncharacteristic drops but still came away with 35 yards and a receiving touchdown and had a rushing touchdown in the third quarter. The Stafford-Cooper Kupp connection was alive and well with Kupp catching 7 passes for 115 yards and a TD. Kupp now has 10 on the year!

Special teams were once again a point of contention. Tutu Atwell had a ROUGH couple of punt returns including one that injured his shoulder. The Rams have no answer and it’s getting harder and harder to justify his second-round draft status. He was drafted to be a returner and the successor to DeSean Jackson and he’s way too raw for either job right now…yeesh. Aside from that though, the special teams unit did a decent enough job and didn’t allow any fakes, miss any kicks, or have any stupid penalties. So that’s a win.

Sean McVay became the youngest coach of all time to reach 50 wins and extended his halftime streak to 43-0.

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Next week the Titans come to SoFi on “Sunday Night Football” and they’ll need Ernest Jones to step up again because the priority is slowing down and surviving Derrick Henry. Henry is harder to bring down than Mr. Burns with ten high-priced lawyers. It remains to be seen what the Rams look like after Tuesday’s trade deadline because the Young trade, Havenstein restructure, and DeSean Jackson wanting out signals that something big is coming we just don’t know what yet. But that’s all for the future Rams to deal with. Today the Rams laid the smacketh down on a putrid Texans team and while they got a little lax in garbage time, the Rams took care of business and that’s all they needed to do.

Los Angeles Rams Running Back Darrell Henderson. Photo Credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams

Los Angeles Rams Running Back Darrell Henderson. Photo Credit: Brevin Townsell | LA Rams