Nobody likes to lose a football game, nobody likes to lose the first game of the season, and nobody likes to lose a game that they could have won. The Dallas Cowboys managed to do all of that in their loss last night to the Los Angeles Rams. The only thing to do for the team is to review the game, correct the mistakes, and get a win this Sunday.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Cowboys. There was some good stuff that came out of the game. While we’ve spent plenty of time looking at the bad, let’s celebrate something good.
The Cowboys Game Ball of the Week goes to defensive end Aldon Smith.
For a guy who has been out of the game since November of 2015, Smith looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. The case could easily be made that Smith was the Cowboys best player on the evening and is proving that his risky signing could turn out to be a very shrewd move by the Cowboys front office.
Smith was tied for the team lead in tackles with 11 and six of those were solo jobs. He also produced the Cowboys lone sack on the evening, managed to hit the QB twice, and had a tackle for loss. He was easily among the most active Cowboys defenders and seemed to be equally adept at playing the run as getting to the passer. He was in on roughly 74% of the defensive snaps for the game,
Smith was instrumental in getting the Cowboys lone turnover on the evening. Chidobe Awuzie’s interception was caused by an Aldon Smith pass rush. Yes, Smith could have been flagged for a blow to the head on Jared Goff on the play, but the effort and skill were there to cause the turnover. It was nice work of a stunt from a standing up position with the defensive tackle.
Smith’s sack came at a crucial time. The Rams were leading 20-17 with just over seven minutes left in the game and were facing a third down at midfield. Goff dropped back to pass, but Smith worked his way upfield from a defensive tackle position and cleaned up Goff after pressure from Everson Griffen.
As was mentioned above, Smith wasn’t just a one-trick pony rushing the passer. Watch him play the run on multiple plays in this excellent cut-up of some of his highlights on the evening.
Aldon Smith came to play and showed he’s going to be a force on the Cowboys defense this year. For his efforts in Week 1, he gets the game ball.
Runner up: A shoutout to running back Ezekiel Elliott. He scored both the Cowboys touchdowns. He had 96 yards rushing with a 4.4 yards per carry average and caught three passes for 31 yards. Elliott looked as good as he has in a few years; he appeared to have a little pep in his step, was making people miss, and then delivering blows when contact came. He stood out in the game.