HOUSTON – The Houston Texans have sunk so low that St. Louis Rams rookie third-string quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like a star against them.

In the first NFL action of his career, Fitzpatrick 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 Houston.

Houston got the ball first in overtime but had to punt it away when David Carr was sacked on third down.

St. Louis (5-6) rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit and scored 10 points in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime.

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 that set up Jeff Wilkins’ 47-yard field goal that tied the game 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, a seventh-round draft pick, proved an able replacement in his first NFL action after backup Jamie Martin left late in the first quarter with a blow to the head. He was 19-of-30 for 310 yards and three touchdowns, despite being sacked five times.

The Rams entered the game without starter Marc Bulger, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

Houston (1-10) piled up 24 first half points but fell apart in the second half, only adding a field goal the rest of the game.

Carr threw for a season-high 293 yards and three first half touchdowns, but couldn’t find the end zone after that.

Andre Johnson had 159 yards, also a season-high, and a touchdown. It was his first 100 yard game and first touchdown catch of the season.

Carr hadn’t thrown more than one touchdown pass in a game in almost a year. So when he threw his third of the first half, a 10-yarder to Corey Bradford just before halftime, he was so jubilant that he chased Bradford down and wrapped him up before playfully tackling him in the end zone.

That jubilation was short-lived however as the Texans found a new way to lose this week, squandering their biggest lead of the season on Sunday.

Early in the game Carr had his way with a secondary that was missing both its starting cornerbacks and its strong safety.

Fitzpatrick’s performance is even more impressive considering that the Rams played the entire second half without Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace, who left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury.

Holt scored on a 19-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and Steven Jackson got the Rams within seven points on a 1-yard run midway through the fourth.

Jackson finished with 25 carries for 110 yards, improving the Rams’ record when having a 100-yard rusher to 38-0 since moving to St. Louis in 1995.

Holt finished with 10 receptions for 130 yards and Bruce had four receptions for 94 yards. A 20-yard reception by Bruce late in the second quarter made him the 11th player in NFL history to top 12,000 yards receiving.

AP-ES-11-27-05 1723EST


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