Needing to keep pace in the chase for the best record in the NFC, the rested Dallas Cowboys off their bye week made the Los Angeles Rams look like a leisurely walk in the park en route to a convincing win Sunday afternoon. The Cowboys controlled the game in all three phases, scoring points in each of them. The Cowboys opponent struggled to get any momentum in the contest before Dallas raced ahead to a 33-9 lead entering halftime. Once ahead, the Cowboys never looked back and battered the Rams to improve their fifth win of the season. In a dominating performance, there’s plenty of praise to be shared. Here are a few of the stars from the game.
Jake Ferguson can be a quarterback’s best friend. The second-year tight end made a great catch down the seam in the red zone to give the Cowboys an early lead in Sunday’s game. Ferguson is a reliable target that may be on an upward trend. Over the last four games, Ferguson has caught all fifteen passes thrown his way for a perfect 100% catch rate.
Bell continues to improve with each passing week and is a player that continually flashes when you see him play. Bell was tied for second on the team in tackles with seven. Bell’s versatility allows him to play down in the box as well as play in pass coverage underneath. Bell’s growth provides the Cowboys with another versatile linebacker that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can deploy in a fierce defense.
Through the first seven weeks of the season, Micah Parsons led the NFL in quarterback pressures with 38. On Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, The “Lion” was on the prowl. Countless times, Parsons rattled Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and made things difficult for the Rams’ offense. The Rams were without their starting right tackle, Rob Havenstein and Parsons feasted from that side and wherever else he wanted.
Parsons’ explosiveness is something to marvel at. The way Parsons beats the Rams’ center Coleman Shelton for the sack is awe-inducing. His sack also set up a blocked punt by Sam Williams that went out of the back of the Rams’ end zone for a safety. Parson’s takedown of Stafford was his fifth of the season and he could have had another if a would-be strip sack had not been overturned by replay. Following the bye, Parsons looked ready and rested. Ahead of the big game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a rejuvenated Parsons is perfect timing.
In speaking with the media this week, CeeDee Lamb clarified his stance on asking for more targets. Lamb made it clear that he wanted to help the offense. Conversely, it was the coaching staff who aided Lamb. The Cowboys intentionally made Lamb the centerpiece of their offense and utilized him in several ways, and Lamb did everything you could ask.
Lamb played in the slot, split out wide, and was given a carry (12 yards) to help keep the offense on schedule. Lamb was also physical after the catch. Lamb was engaged on and off the field. During the broadcast, he was seen communicating with his coaches and his teammates. That signifies a content and utilized weapon in the Dallas offense. Lamb was targeted 14 times, catching 12 passes for 158 yards and two scores. When Prescott targeted Lamb, he posted a 153.2 passer rating. The Cowboys’ formula to success should be simple, feature CeeDee Lamb as much as possible.
Dak Prescott was excellent against the Rams. Although he was under immediate pressure to begin the game, he and the offensive line pushed through as Prescott made terrific choices with the football. Before the bye, Prescott improvised with his legs and played outside of the pocket. It was encouraging to see the trend continue against Los Angeles.
Dak Prescott completed 8 of 11 passes over 10 air yards for 153 yards and 4 TD, tied for the most TD in a game this season.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) October 29, 2023
Prescott set season-highs in CPOE (+16.3%) and success rate (57.9%) while facing a season-low 21.1% pressure rate.#LAvsDAL | #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/kqEWZpthaU
For example, on one of his touchdown passes to CeeDee Lamb, Prescott escaped the pocket and kept his eyes down the field before finding a wide-open Lamb in the end zone. Perhaps the most inspiring aspect of Sunday’s game was the Cowboys taking more risks down the field, outside the numbers and attacking the seams.
Also, Prescott deserves credit for incorporating others in the game outside of CeeDee Lamb. Prescott completed a pass to seven different receivers. Furthermore, the team has needed to find more opportunities for Jake Ferguson and Brandin Cooks, who found the end zone Sunday. Prescott was on fire against Los Angeles.
DaRon Bland habitually makes plays and is constantly around the football. On his interception of Matthew Stafford, Bland and Jourdan Lewis do an excellent job of playing the stacked receiver alignment of Cooper Kupp and Tutu Atwell at the snap. Bland read Kupp’s release off the line of scrimmage and immediately recognized that Kupp was running an out pattern. Bland took the errant pass in the other direction for a touchdown. Through seven games this season, Bland has four interceptions and has returned three for a touchdown.
No doubt aided by the Cowboys’ pass rush, Bland held the Rams receivers in check. Against the Cowboys, Bland and the Cowboys limited Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp to seven catches for 66 yards. For added context, Bland has been spectacular this season - when targeted in coverage, Bland has yielded a passer rating of 22.3. The Cowboys have unearthed a gem in the absence of Trevon Diggs.