Tom sums up the Cowboys’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams:
It should not have been close at all. After leading by as much as 13 points early, the Dallas Cowboys managed to get badly outplayed in the second half to lose to the Los Angeles Ramsby a final score of 35-30. Despite some early success, the Cowboys’ defense, missing Sean Lee, seemed to wear down at the same time the Rams’ defense began to find its footing. And parallel to this, the Dallas offense, which had been excellent in the first half, suddenly began to struggle, unable to convert third downs. Things were sealed when Dak Prescott tried to convert a third and nine, with the team down by five, only to have it tipped and intercepted at Dallas’ own 29 yard line. Although the Cowboys were able to hold them to a field goal, it made the lead eight points, and with less than ten minutes left in the game, there was just not enough time for Dallas to come back. They nearly did, with a quick drive leading to a James Hanna touchdown, but a two point conversion was wiped out by a holding call on Travis Frederick, that FOX color commentator Daryl Johnston flatly stated was in error. Then the defense just could not find a way to stop the Rams’ attack, letting them move the ball and eat clock while looking at that two point deficit on the scoreboard. The Rams would add one more field goal, their sixth of the game, to push the score to the final margin.
Archer’s recap of the game includes the point of Dallas wanting to start off fast, and he includes some plays that played a role in the frustrating outcome.
A number of plays will stand out:
• Two Cowboys’ special-teams miscues led to 10 Los Angeles points. Ryan Switzer’s fumbled punt changed the tenor of the game in the second quarter, with the Rams answering with a touchdown that cut the Dallas lead to 17-13. A 66-yard kickoff return led to a Rams field goal earlier.
• After the offense woke up with a 75-yard scoring drive, Travis Frederick was flagged for a holding penalty on what would have been Dak Prescott’s game-tying two-point conversion with 7:11 to play. After the Rams were called for holding, the Cowboys’ third chance to tie it up ended when Prescott’s pass to Terrance Williams was slightly deflected and fell to the ground.
Clarence Hill writes on the game.
Confidence is good when it’s based on demonstrated ability.
But what happens when arrogance and cockiness puts you in the state of denial about real issues?
That gets you beat.
More important for the Dallas Cowboys, following Sunday’s 35-30 loss to the surprising Los Angeles Rams, it has them at a crossroads heading into an uncertain part of the season.
The SportsDay team gathers tweets from fans after Sunday’s performance.
Jon gives his five thoughts following Sunday’s loss to L.A, including the turning point in the game and Zeke.
2. Momentum Shift
Ryan Switzer's muffed punt might have been the biggest play Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys had all of the momentum and looked well on their way to a potential blowout. The Rams recovered the ball, trailing 17-6. They scored a touchdown on that drive and made it a ballgame the rest of the way.
Switzer is usually praised for his aggressiveness, but it might have cost him on that play midway through the second quarter. The Rams scored on all but one possession after recovering that turnover.
Zeke hasn’t lost a step, writes Machota:
Think Ezekiel Elliott has lost a step? The first half showed you he hasn't.
Last season's rushing champ had 56 yards on 14 carries, caught two passes for 41 yards and scored twice. The problem for the Cowboys is that they couldn't get him involved in the third quarter. The Rams rallied to take the lead, removing much of the run game from the Cowboys offense.
Had the Cowboys held a lead in the second half, Elliott would've went well over 100 yards on the ground. Elliott's fine. As long as he's on the field, the Cowboys have one of the most valuable weapons in the game. Problem is, the Rams have one of the others in Todd Gurley.
Mosley gives his thoughts on the game, including Dak, special teams, and Jeff Heath.
---- It's obvious Prescott is becoming much more comfortable giving Bryant a chance to make plays in traffic. I think Dak let that long interception-less streak get to him a little bit last year and he stopped taking chances. He threw a ball up for Bryant to make a play on the first drive. Dez high-pointed a ball against Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson. (It's still hard to believe the Rams let Janoris "Jackrabbit" Jenkins get away. He remains one of the league's elite cover corners). I also think it helps Prescott that Bryant has broken up some INTs this season. That makes Dak more willing to throw it to him in traffic. Bryant stripped a sure INT away from Johnson on the Cowboys' second possession. The Cowboys eventually scored a TD to make it 10-3.
Special teams didn’t help.
---- Some shoddy special teams play by the Cowboys. Pharoh Cooper had a 66-yard kickoff return that set up the Rams for a field goal. And rookie Ryan Switzer muffed a punt that set up the Rams' first touchdown. He looked snakebitten on his next opportunity, allowing a punt to sail over his head instead of fielding it.
Daniels writes on the game.
After the kickoff, the Rams took over at their own 17-yard line with 7:08 left in the game and marched down to the Cowboys’ 14-yard line in 12 plays, finishing with another Zuerlein field goal to pad their lead, 35-30. But in doing so, they also ticked 5:16 off the clock and forced Dallas to use all three of its timeouts.
Now the Cowboys had one last shot, taking over at their own 25-yard line with 1:55 left in the game. Ten plays later, it was over. After picking up a pair of first downs and crossing into enemy territory, on fourth-and-10 at the Rams’ 48-yard line, Prescott’s dump-off to Elliott was just inches short of the marker, Los Angeles taking over on downs.
With the loss, the Cowboys dropped to 2-2 on the season. They’ll be back at home next weekend, hosting the Green Bay Packers at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday.
Three winners and four losers from the Cowboys loss against the Rams - Dave Halprin, BTB
Who were the winners and losers from Sunday’s loss?
First-half running game/Ezekiel Elliott: For one half of football, it looked like the 2016 Cowboys were back. Dallas was running the ball again, moving it up and down the field, and using a complementary passing game to put 24 points on the board. Ezekiel Elliott was a serious threat again, and even had a hand in the passing game out of the backfield. Alfred Morris pitched in with a huge 70-yard run. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.
Dak fit in both categories, according to Dave.
Dak Prescott - Dak did some amazing things in the game when escaping pressure and keeping plays alive. He threw three touchdowns and faced more pressure then he usually does. On the other hand, he’s just not as accurate with his passes this year as he was last year. There are other factors at play, but there are also plays when he has time in the pocket and is just missing receivers. He’s not playing up to his 2016 form.
Dak says despite Sunday’s loss, the Cowboys can still get better.
Zeke showed off a new celebration on Sunday.
Elliott caught a ball from quarterback Dak Prescott to the left and took it 10 yards, diving into the endzone to put the Cowboys up 10-3.
His celebration: more than just his usual "feed me" gesture.
Elliott added a new wrinkle, tucking his game towel into his jersey like a bib. He then wiped his face and helmet after the signature feed me gesture.
Hairopoulos provides an update on the Ezekiel Elliott situation.
What does this mean?
Legal experts say it's rare for the 5th Circuit to hold an oral hearing on a stay motion. That a hearing is scheduled could be taken as good news for the NFL. The court asked for both sides to turn in briefs on subject matter jurisdiction, which were filed Wednesday evening. The request indicates that the court is focusing on whether Elliott and the NFLPA properly filed their lawsuit on Aug. 31 to vacate the NFL's punishment in the Eastern District of Texas, a court Elliott's side hoped would be favorable. The suit was filed hours after the conclusion of Elliott's appeal hearing with the NFL but before arbitrator Harold Henderson ruled to uphold the league's discipline. The hearing to request a preliminary injunction was held in Sherman on Sept. 5, and Henderson's ruling was issued while the hearing was in process.
Daniel Wallach, a lawyer and sports law expert who has avidly followed the case, has said that Elliott has a strong case for the stay to be denied because of the irreparable harm he would suffer if he served the suspension before the case was resolved. But Wallach said subject matter jurisdiction trumps all.
"Nothing outweighs jurisdiction," Wallach said. "If the court believes there's no jurisdiction, then it's toast."