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Cowboys news: Cowboys dominate Rams to improve to 7-7, in the driver seat for NFC East

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Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys snap out of funk, notch statement win vs. Los Angeles Rams - Jori Epstein, USA Today

Wins are much more fun than losses.

Here are three more things we learned in the Cowboys win:

1. A big day for the older guys

The Cowboys’ 2016 draft class—Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith—built a foundation for a team with young leadership. But two of the franchise’s three longest-tenured players set the tone for Dallas’ first win in four games. Tight end Jason Witten, who emerged from retirement this season, scored Dallas’ first touchdown on a drive nearly wrecked by an interception that was negated by offsetting penalties. Instead, the Cowboys bled 6:21 of clock on a 15-play, 90-yard drive capped off by Witten snagging a 19-yard touchdown with one hand on third-and-10. The Cowboys would never cede their lead. Linebacker Sean Lee, who didn’t practice all week with pec and thigh injuries, helped ensure that. He returned his first interception in more than two years for 25 yards, giving Dallas’ offense a rare short field. Elliott scored four plays later, capping off 28 Cowboys points before halftime. Lee also sacked Jared Goff for a loss of 12 yards in the third quarter.

Recap: Cowboys Dominate in Victory over Rams - Kurt Daniels,

Where was this team the last three weeks?

Leading the charge for the Cowboys was their Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott, who outshined his counterpart on the Rams, Todd Gurley II. Rushing with authority, Elliott powered his way to 117 yards on the ground, compared to just 20 by Gurley, who was held in check all day by the Dallas defense.

With another 43 receiving yards for Elliott and an additional 131 rushing yards from Tony Pollard, the Cowboys rolled to 475 yards of total offense, converting 54 percent of their third downs while also going 3-for-3 in the red zone.

Dak Prescott proved to be efficient as well, completing 65.2 percent of his pass attempts for 212 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 123.8 passer rating.

Meanwhile, sparked by Sean Lee and Jourdan Lewis, a Cowboys defensive unit that had been much-maligned over the past few weeks kept the Rams from mounting any kind of a real challenge. Los Angeles finished with 289 yards of total offense, but a chunk of that came with the outcome already well decided.

WATCH: DeMarcus Lawrence takes the blame for Dallas Cowboys’ coin toss confusion but after win ‘It’s all good’ - Stefan Stevenson, Star-Telegram

We now have some clarity about what happened at the coin toss.

Dallas Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said he was to blame for the coin toss confusion because he wanted the team to play defense first. The NFL stepped in and cleared it up and Dallas received the kick in the second half.

NFL office steps in amid confusion over Rams-Cowboys coin toss - Kevin Seifert,

The NFL finally got something right!

The NFL officiating department stepped in Sunday to reverse the team set for the second-half kickoff in Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys, an unusual move that corrected a mistake during the pregame coin toss.

After the Cowboys won the toss, quarterback Dak Prescott first told referee Walt Anderson that “we want to kick it,” but then followed up with: “We defer to the second half.”

Anderson replied, “You’re going to kick,” meaning that the Cowboys had used their choice to kick off rather than to defer. The Cowboys kicked off to start the game and were set to kick off again to open the second half. At halftime, however, Anderson informed both teams that the NFL office in New York City had heard Prescott’s request to “defer” and that it should be honored.

According to the NFL, the league office was authorized to step in under Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9 of its rule book. It states: “The replay official and designated members of the officiating department may consult with on-field officials, or conduct a replay review, of game administration issues, including: (a) penalty enforcement; (b) the proper down; (c) spot of a foul; and (d) the game clock.”

”It says that we can get involved, replay can, as far as game administration issues: downs, enforcements, things like that,” NFL senior VP of officiating Al Riveron said. “So by rule we can get involved. This is a game administration issue, not a judgment call, for example. And we have definite audio that refers to deferring.”

Report: Cowboys rookie linebacker Luke Gifford out for season with fractured arm - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys

Well this is less than ideal.

The Dallas Cowboys entered their game on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Rams with shallow depth at linebacker thanks to Leighton Vander Esch missing his fourth straight game.

Thankfully, Sean Lee played quite heroically, although there were two young players in Luke Gifford and Chris Covington ready to go if called upon. Unfortunately, the former got into the game early on and suffered an injury that is going to end his season. Luke Gifford has a fractured arm.

Gifford has been a promising asset for the Cowboys as he really played his way onto the 53-man roster during preseason. He got hurt then as well, so the Cowboys had to be patient with bringing him back and just when he was back in the action,he’s picked up another injury that will sideline him.

Don’t Forget These 5: Keeping Gurley in Check - Nick Eatman,

Five things that led to the Cowboys 44-21 win over the Rams.

Woods stuffs Gurley for loss – Obviously the focus for the defense was to stop the Rams’ running game with Todd Gurley, especially after last year’s playoff win in which they ran all over the Cowboys. One player who didn’t play all of that game was Antwaun Woods, who had a shoulder injury in the playoffs and missed the last few games with a knee injury this year. Woods returned and stopped Gurley for a 3-yard loss on first down at the Cowboys’ 41. That started to turn the momentum back the other way after a crazy start to the game. The Rams eventually punted, but it was Woods’ tackle on Gurley that turned the tide and set the tone for a strong day against the run.

Eagles Beat Redskins, Playoff Scenarios for NFC East - Mike Greger,

With the Cowboys and Eagles holding the same record, let’s run through a few different playoff scenario’s for the NFC East.

Scenarios for Philadelphia Eagles to Win NFC East

The question on everyone’s mind after Sunday’s win was how do the Eagles clinch the NFC East division crown.

It’s pretty simple. They need to win their next two games. It all starts next Sunday when the Eagles host the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s a must-win football game.

Here are the various ways they can win the NFC East:

Beat the Cowboys and Beat the Giants. This is the clearest and easiest path. If the Eagles beat the Cowboys in Week 16 and the Giants in Week 17, then they take the division. In this scenario, it doesn’t matter what the Cowboys do in Week 17. They won’t hold any tiebreakers.

Beat the Cowboys and Lose to Giants. This is the hard way, but still a possibility. If the Eagles beat the Cowboys in Week 16 but fall to the Giants in Week 17, they can still win it. The Eagles would need the Cowboys to fall to the Redskins in Week 17.

Cowboys kicking woes continue, as new kicker boots it out of bounds on his first kickoff - Frank Schwab,

Kai Forbath was 8-for-8 on field goal and extra point attempts, but he did kick two kickoffs out of bounds. What in the world?

It took one kick for Kai Forbath to earn the rage of Dallas Cowboys fans.

Cowboys fans are fed up with a lot, and the kicking situation is an easy target. Kicker Brett Maher was cut this week after missing his 10th field goal this season. Forbath was signed.

And on the opening kickoff of his Cowboys debut, Forbath kicked the ball out of bounds. The Los Angeles Rams got the ball at the 40-yard line. A second hadn’t even ticked off the clock and Forbath had already made his first mistake as Cowboys kicker.

BTB Podcast

The Cowboys beat the Rams and we have some thoughts. Check them out on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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