Rams 33, Texans 27
Playing in an NFL game was new to St. Louis Rams rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Coming back from a 21-point deficit wasn't.
The Rams' third-stringer took over for injured backup Jamie Martin on Sunday, then threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis in overtime to cap an improbable comeback and give the Rams a 33-27 win over the Houston Texans.
The seventh-round pick from Harvard stayed calm by thinking back to his freshman year and first college start when he rallied the Crimson from a 21-0 halftime deficit for a 31-21 win over Dartmouth.
"I was actually thinking about that game," Fitzpatrick said. "The biggest thing when you're in those situations is you need to get everyone around you fired up."
Houston (1-10) got the ball first in overtime but had to punt it away when David Carr was sacked on third down.
St. Louis (5-6) scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds of the game to force overtime.
"I knew there was no way we were going to lose that game," Fitzpatrick said. "You sort of get that feeling out there, of invincibility, with the way the offense was playing late and the way the defense really stepped up."
Isaac Bruce scored on a 43-yard pass with 26 seconds left and the Rams recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. Torry Holt caught a 19-yard pass to set up Jeff Wilkins's 47-yard field goal that tied it at 27 with four seconds left.
The Rams recovered from a horrible first half, with just 117 yards and six first downs, to gain 312 yards and 16 first downs in the second half. Fitzpatrick proved an able replacement for Martin, who left late in the first quarter after suffering a blow to the head. Fitzpatrick was 19 of 30 for 310 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters, despite being sacked five times.
The Rams entered the game without starter Marc Bulger, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
Houston scored 24 first-half points but fell apart in the second half, only adding a field goal the rest of the game.