The Dallas Cowboys came away with a huge 43-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday and they remain undefeated at home this season. The Cowboys jumped out to a lead early and for all intents and purposes put this game out of reach by halftime. The Rams just didn’t have the firepower to get back in the game. There were a lot of good things in this one, and here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys' rout over the Rams.
1. FOR A BRIEF MOMENT, IT DIDN’T LOOK GOOD
It’s hard to imagine that this game gave us anything to worry about, but there was a super brief moment when we had a reason to be nervous. After learning that left tackle Tyron Smith was made inactive, the team relied on Chuma Edoga to protect Dak Prescott’s blindside. It didn’t start well as Dak was sacked on the first play of the game when edge rusher Michael Hoecht got around Edoga. Two plays later, Prescott was sacked again. The Cowboys' offensive line has struggled at times this year so wasn’t exactly the start we were all hoping for.
2. A GOOD BREAK
On the Cowboys' first drive of the game, it appeared as if it would stall out after two sacks caused the offense to go three-and-out. Luckily for the Dallas, Rams safety Quentin Lake got flagged for an illegal contract that gave the Cowboys a new set of downs, leading to an opening-drive touchdown. The Rams were not so fortunate on their first drive. They were forced to settle for a field goal when the officials missed a pass interference penalty after Jourdan Lewis got his left arm on Cooper Kupp’s hip. The contact was a clear difference-maker in Kupp's ability to catch the ball.
3. BRANDON AUBREY IS GOOD
It looked like a third-down sack on Dak Prescott might’ve taken them out of field goal range, but not when you have Brandon Aubrey on your football team. The rookie kicker came in and knocked down a 58-yard field goal and just like his other kicks this season, it was right down the middle. Aubrey has been outstanding this year, but most of his success has come on kicks under 30 yards. Today, he showed off that big leg. Short kicks, long kicks, it doesn’t matter. The rookie continues to split the uprights. Aubrey is a perfect 18 for 18 in field goals this season.
4. KEEP THROWING TO CEEDEE LAMB
CeeDee Lamb is the Cowboys' most talented offensive weapon and it’s criminal to not find ways to get the ball in his hands. Entering the game, the team was 7-1 and averaged 30 points a game whenever Lamb got at least eight catches in the game. Well, he got the ball plenty as he finished with 12 catches for 158 yards, both career highs. He also scored two touchdowns. It was nice to see the team play to their strengths and utilize their top players. Speaking of which...
5. A DIFFERENT DAK
Prescott entered this game coming off of four consecutive contests without throwing multiple touchdowns in a game. It’s brought about a lot of talk about Prescott’s ability and whether or not he’s the guy that can lead this offense to success. Against the Rams, Prescott completed over 80% of his passes for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. In this game, Prescott was cutting loose and throwing the ball down the field. Honestly, it was a sight for sore eyes and points more that there never was a Dak problem all along and more of a “how to use Dak” issue. He was used correctly on Sunday.
6. A ROUGH DAY FOR STAFFORD
The key to stopping the Rams' offense is getting into Matthew Stafford’s grill and forcing him to make bad passes. The Cowboys' pass rush did exactly that as they were constantly in the backfield giving him fits. While he was only officially sacked once in this game, he was pressured quite a bit. And one of those pressures led to an errant throw that went right into the hands of DaRon Bland who took it 30 yards for a touchdown. It was a huge play in the game and suddenly put the Rams in a 14-point hole. Eventually, Stafford had enough as a thumb injury took him out of the game.
7. NO KUPP, NO PUKA, NO OFFENSE
The Rams have a couple of pesky receivers on their team in Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua, but on Sunday, they were nowhere to be found. The Cowboys' defense held Kupp to just four catches for 21 yards and Nacua to three catches for 43 yards. The rookie Nacua entered the week as the league’s leader in receptions. The Rams' passing game was essentially nonexistent as their longest receiving play came on a 32-yard screen pass to Darrell Henderson Jr. The Cowboys did a great job taking away the Rams' two biggest offensive weapons.
8. DEJA VU
Bland’s interception was his third pick-six of the season for him as he had one in the opener against the Giants and again against the Patriots. It’s starting to become a thing for him. The Cowboys special teams also came through with a big game as Sam Williams blocked a punt in the second quarter. This was the second straight game against the Rams where the Cowboys had both a defensive touchdown and a blocked punt as Dorance Armstrong aided in both last season.
9. SO CLOSE, KAVONTAE!
KaVontae Turpin almost had a punt return taken to the house on the free kick after the safety, and then he did take one the distance in the fourth quarter only to have it taken off the board due to a holding penalty from Nahshon Wright. Had it counted, the Cowboys would have reached 50 points. One of these days, Turpin is going to return a kick for a touchdown and it’s going to count.
10. HOME SWEET HOME
The Cowboys have been on the road a lot this season with four of their first games played away from the confines of AT&T Stadium. They were at home on Sunday where they have done extremely well this year. When they have played at home, they are not only winning, they have been destroying teams. With previous blowouts over the Jets and Patriots and now 23 against the Rams, the Cowboys are 3-0 at home with an average margin of victory of 26 points.