The Dallas Cowboys entered this week with an opportunity to start a winning streak and maintain a tie for the division lead in the NFC East. The Rams had similar intentions as they found themselves in unfamiliar territory atop the NFC West. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly in Dallas’s loss to the Rams.
The Cowboys started off the game 17-6 with a pair of vintage Ezekiel Elliott touchdowns. The re-emergence of Zeke bodes well for the Cowboys as he was running with tenacity and making a strong Rams defense miss. He ended the game with a pair of touchdowns, 85 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards. Zeke’s attack gave Dallas four straight scoring drives in the first half.
Today’s offensive show was led by key contributions from Alfred Morris, Brice Butler and James Hanna. Morris had a 70-yard run which set up a quick Zeke touchdown. Butler continued his solid play with a touchdown late in the first half after Prescott had an impressive third down conversion earlier in the drive. Hanna recorded his first touchdown of his career midway through the fourth quarter after an efficient drive. While the emergence of these players helps Dallas, it does not offset the disappearance of Terrence Williams, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten today.
Other than Dallas’s quick start, not much went well for the Dallas defense throughout the game. Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp ran through the defense in the second half, leading a Rams attack that included 19 straight points and 22 of the last 28 total points scored by both teams. The Dallas Cowboys offense, which performed well in the first half, had six drives in the second half which ended in three punts, an interception, a touchdown and failed fourth-down conversion. This is not a winning strategy and culminates into a disappointing loss for the Dallas Cowboys after a great Monday night performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Dallas defense was shredded by Gurley, moreso as the game progressed, and it was apparent how valuable Sean Lee is to this defense. While Demarcus Lawrence was able to notch another sack, the Cowboys need Lee to lead this defense and bail out the depleted secondary. What remains interesting is that the defense has contained Eli Manning and Carson Palmer but has struggled mightily against young Trevor Siemian and Goff.
Ryan Switzer was drafted by the Cowboys to be their primary return man and give the offense an alternate weapon similar to Cole Beasley. His play throughout today’s game was suspect and it was punctuated by an awful fumble midway through the second quarter after the Dallas defense stringed together a few straight shutdown drives against Goff and Gurley. As Dallas was already up 17-6 with an opportunity to seal the game, Switzer gave the ball to the Rams with perfect field position which set up a quick strike touchdown to Kupp.
Honorable mention for another ugly move goes to Maliek Collins and his pathetic attempt to delay the game by kicking the ball with his foot. This gaffe reflects poorly on the Dallas organization and gave the Rams an extra five yards for their impending field goal attempt.
The Dallas Cowboys will look back at today’s game with dissapointment as they relinquished an opportunity to defeat an NFC opponent and continue to stake claim in the NFC race, especially with the Falcons losing today. The team will stay at home this week and shift their preparation towards the Green Bay Packers next week.