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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Spagnola: Maybe, Could Be, We’ll Soon Find Out - Mickey Spagnola,
Spags weighs with his thoughts on the Cowboys’ dismantling of the Rams.

Cowboys 37, Rams 7, with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter.

Remember, it’s the Rams, dude, the team that eliminated the Cowboys from the 2018 playoffs, 30-22. The team that ran for 273 yards that day at the LA Coliseum. The defending NFC champion team – “This is the team that played in the Super Bowl last year, the Rams I’m talking about,” Cowboys owner Jerry jones emphasized – coming into AT&T Stadium before 90,436 on Sunday at 8-5, scrambling back into the NFC wild-card race on the strength of a two-game winning streak and having won three of its past four.

And the Cowboys did this to them, 44-21, giving up two touchdowns in the final b.s. moments, likely leaving the Rams with their heads swimming on the way back to Los Angeles, probably wondering, _which way did they go_ after getting run right over.

Where in the hell you guys been?

Pollard Keeps Making Most Of Opportunities - Jonny Auping,
Tony Pollard has impressed throughout his rookie campaign.

That big-play potential is what makes Pollard such a useful weapon for the Cowboys, whether it’s on limited snaps or with consistent carries. Along with the 44-yard touchdown, Pollard also had a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter off of what seemed to be a broken play.

“Those things happen in football,” Pollard said, recalling the play. “Not every play is going to be perfectly drawn up or perfectly blocked the way it’s supposed to be blocked. You just have to go out there and be a football player and play.”

It certainly impressed quarterback Dak Prescott.

“He’s something else,” Prescott said of Pollard after the game. “Arm tackles and all that stuff, he’s just getting through it. He just continues to make plays anytime the ball is in his hands.”

Jason Garrett just coached the Cowboys to their finest hour of 2019, but what does it all mean? - Tim Cowlishaw,
Jason Garrett outcoached the NFL’s boy wonder, whose bloom seems to have faded.

As a matter of fact, the Cowboys were so far ahead of the Rams in the preparation game that while applauding Zeke Elliott and rookie Tony Pollard for outshining Todd Gurley and praising Prescott for outperforming Jared Goff, clear your throat and state the following: Jason Garrett outcoached the league’s Unofficial Boy Genius right out of the playoffs (or at least to the brink of elimination).

If the Rams outcoached Dallas last January in the LA Coliseum (no one is disputing that here), then the reversal on a less important but still significant Sunday afternoon was that LA looked clueless and overmatched while the Cowboys even burned them with one of the Rams’ discards (hey, you guys remember Tavon Austin?)

It was the Cowboys’ finest hour of 2019 which, clearly, isn’t saying a lot for a team that takes a 7-7 record into Philadelphia for the NFC East showdown. The Eagles gain the upper hand with a win next Sunday but the Cowboys will actually clinch the East if they sweep Philadelphia to climb back above .500.

Cowboys made an emphatic statement against the Rams, and it all started in the trenches - Michael Gehlken,
Dallas got back to their physical style with dominating play on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

The final score was misleading.

Dallas led 37-7 before garbage time. Backup quarterback Cooper Rush made an appearance in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys would have taken this performance against anyone; they needed to snap a three-game losing streak against whomever that came.

But that it was the Rams, of course, was poetic. This same franchise outgained the Cowboys 273-50 on the ground in a January playoff loss. On Sunday, the roles reversed at a time of year when they needed to most.

Beginning in the first quarter, Cowboys compiled five straight scoring drives. The first four were for touchdowns. Two of those drives spanned at least 90 yards. One was a 14-play, 97-yard drive during which Dallas ran it 11 times.

“Physical. Physical,” owner Jerry Jones said. “I know firsthand from knowing what their goals were for practice this week, especially in the fronts but really the offensive line. Their theme this week was physical, be physical. And boy, they were physical. They played up against a really fine defensive line, and I think that set the tone.”

Here’s why Cowboys were able to play their most impressive game when they needed it most – Jon Machota, The Athletic
Machota gives his five reasons for the Cowboys’ unexpected dominance of the Rams.

1.) A good week from the head coach. It’s fascinating how many fans seem terrified about the prospect of the Cowboys winning because of the possibility it will lead to Jason Garrett getting a new contract. That would take much more than one impressive win at the end of the season. For Dallas to stick with Garrett beyond this year, there would have to be a similar performance next week in Philadelphia and then at least two more in the playoffs. And even that might not be enough. It could take the Cowboys reaching the Super Bowl.

But Garrett deserves credit for Sunday’s win. While several players said there wasn’t anything noteworthy about last week that made them think this type of outing was coming, Sean Lee and Dak Prescott talked about a speech Garrett gave on Saturday. Although he didn’t get into specifics, Prescott said it involved an old story of Garrett’s days playing youth baseball.

“Coach Garrett gave an unbelievable speech talking about, ‘Hey, we need to pick each other up,’” Lee said. “When one side is doing well or not doing well, the other side has to step up. It’s one of the best speeches I’ve ever heard from him. It was great. I think we all kind of rallied around that, and really I think we took that motto. We have to find a way to pick each other up, no matter what … Pick your brother up. We embraced that.”

Cowboys-Rams: Dallas Got the Exact Win It Needed - Danny Heifetz, The Ringer
The Dallas victory was the cure for what has ailed the Cowboys.

It’s an astonishing turnaround from where the Cowboys were 10 days ago. Former Cowboys receiver and current NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin said after the Bears loss that the Cowboys couldn’t “continue down this path,” in reference to Garrett’s job security. Cowboys legend Jimmy Johnson was even harsher, saying on Fox last week “nobody would be happy if he was the head coach a year from now.” Announcer Troy Aikman said on air the only impediment to firing Garrett was none of the assistant coaches deserved to be named the interim head coach. One game later, Garrett’s squad eviscerated the team that knocked them out of last year’s playoffs and is on the verge of making it back to the postseason.

The Cowboys and Eagles play next week. A win would make Dallas the NFC East champion. If the Cowboys win the division, they’d likely play either the Seahawks or 49ers in the wild-card round.

Dallas Cowboys snap out of funk, notch statement win vs. Rams - Jori Epstein,
A seemingly botched coinflip was meaningless in the end as the Cowboys showed what they’re capable of.

In the end, it didn’t much matter whether the Cowboys elected to kick or defer.

Beyond coin-toss drama that proved much ado about nothing, the Cowboys left few aspects of the game up for the debate in a 44-21 win over the Rams.

The win marked Dallas’ first victory all season over an opponent with a winning record. It was also their first win in a month.

Credit offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s play calling finding more success than Sean McVay’s, a healthier Cowboys defense playing the best it had in weeks, a new kicker making all his kicks and the Cowboys run game exploding in a manner similar to the way the Rams’ runners did when Dallas lost to Los Angeles in the divisional round of the playoffs in January.

The Cowboys returned to .500 and sit atop the NFC East with the Eagles, who also are now 7-7. The teams face off next week.

The Morning After: Cowboys pummel old nemesis, suggesting they have further plans for 2019 season – The Athletic
The Sturminator with his day after thoughts.

But to the 2019 Dallas Cowboys’ credit, it must be said: That opening kickoff was one of the few highlights of the Rams’ day. Because for that team, coming off an emotional crushing of their rivals in Seattle the week before, things went quickly downhill from there. Last year’s NFC Super Bowl team was able to accomplish next to nothing on either side of the ball the entire day aside from some nice cosmetic yardage versus Prevent defenses in the fourth quarter. The Rams put together one drive that bridged the late first and early second quarters and answered the Cowboys’ initial touchdown, but the next stretch in the second quarter featured such an avalanche of huge moments for the home side that the Rams saw very little reason to care about the second-half kickoff.

It simply would not matter what happened after halftime. Fox tried to build some false drama in the third and fourth quarters to hold viewers, but this game was over in the second, when Dallas apparently took out all the frustrations of their last month on a very talented football team and the outcome was never in question. Despite the legions of supposedly wise followers of football all thinking they knew what they were going to witness on Sunday, what actually occurred was exactly the opposite. Dallas punched back so hard at all of the adversity and doubts that have been lobbed at them in recent weeks that the Rams went quickly to sleep before the back of their head even hit the canvas.

MMQB: Wins by Cowboys, Eagles makes NFC East race interesting - Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated
The MMBQ catches up with Sean Lee, who shares some interesting thoughts on the Cowboys’ coaching.

Before 21–7 suddenly became 28–7 (which ended as a 44–21 win), no one saw this coming from the Cowboys. In fact, the guys themselves had every reason to be skeptical going into Sunday.

But Lee wasn’t.

“We played pretty bad the last three games but I liked the plan,” he said. “We were getting back to our identity. Coach [Jason] Garrett has been unbelievable all week making sure [we know] when we play up to our identity, we win football games. We went back to basics. How do we win football games? Who are we?We executed in that fashion.”

On offense, that meant saddling up behind the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott, and boy, did that ever happen. Dallas gave Elliott 17 carries in the first half, and he finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, with rookie Tony Pollard knocking out another 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

On defense, it meant playing more soundly and more disciplined than those guys had over the last month. And it took the coaches calling out players during the week to get there, which those players will acknowledge now.

“[Defensive coordinator] Rod Marinelli, if you watch our defense over the years, it’s unbelievable hustle from everybody on the defense, and there’s execution,” Lee said. “We don’t have too much defense, but what we do play, we play it right—physically, mentally, and we haven’t done that the last three weeks. They challenged us. They challenged our identity as a team."

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