There’s a saying “good things come to those who wait”, The Rams were playoff bound weeks ago and were chomping at the bit to kick start their post season campaign. There is another famous saying “all good things must come to an end”, this is true for the Dallas Cowboys and whilst The Cowboys are licking their wounds right now they can be sure there are signs that this young team has potential for the future.
Week 8 seems a long time ago now as does the mood that Cowboys fans were experiencing back then, hard work, belief and effort contributed to The Cowboys turning around their season, at the time both The Redskins and The Eagles were above them and they were in a dark place fighting for daylight in the NFC East. Momentum was on their side and after a great win in the Wild Card Round but it all came to a sudden end last night in The LA Coliseum which apparently had around 40 to 50 % Cowboys Fans.
The one thing you could hang your hat on this year was the Cowboys ability to contain the run, they held The Seahawks last week in the Wild Card Round who were the leagues number 1 rushing team, the talk was about holding Gurley and forcing Jerad Goff to throw, Gurley spent weeks 15 and 16 of the regular season side lines due to injury and The Rams signed C.J Anderson who had been on fire for his new team leading in to the playoffs. The Rams had a dual threat run attack which the Cowboys failed to contain, the one-two punch of Todd Gurley and C.J Anderson proved to be too much for the Cowboys Defence. The Cowboys had been rock solid all year but were simply bullied by The Rams offensive line and The Rams totalled 273 rushing yards and 459 total yards.
The Dallas Cowboys had no answer to The Rams offence who scored on their first 4 drives to go in to a healthy lead of 7 – 20.
The Rams dominated time of possession with a huge 36.13 to Dallas’s 23.47 and crucially they converted both of their 4th downs an area The Cowboys struggled in, it was particularly alarming to see Zeke Elliott held on two 4th and 1 attempts.
The battle of the two quarter backs, Dak Prescott threw for 266 yards and had a passer rating of 99.2, Dak spread the ball around and found the Rookie Michael Gallup 6 times for 119 yards and Amari Cooper who also had 6 grabs for 65 yards and a touchdown.
The ground game never got going for the Cowboys, Zeke was held for just 47 yards on 20 carries nowhere near enough to be a problem for the Rams.
On the other hand the run game was so effective for the Rams that the passing game never had to be a prominent part of the Rams attack but when Sean McVay did call on his QB to move the chains he did with ease, Goff threw for 186 yards and had a 74.4 passer rating.
I expected Dallas to contain The Rams early, The Cowboys have held top offences all year and lead the league in only giving up a total of 24 points in the first quarter all year but The Rams seamlessly glided down to Dallas’s 7 yard line only to come away with a field goal.
It was Dak’s turn to march the Cowboys down the field and he did so with his first 3 passes completed, the drive ended with a catch run effort from Amari Cooper which saw him blaze up field to score the game’s opening touchdown and putting the Cowboys up 3 – 7.
Completely unfazed the Rams drove another 70 yards to score another field goal and use up 7.23 of the clock.
Despite the Cowboys having a 1 point lead the “boys” Defence had been on the field for most of the time and it didn’t help that The Cowboys next drive resulted in a punt giving The Rams the ball back for Goff to throw a 20 yards pass followed by a 16 yard pass the drive was capped off by a strong run up the middle by C.J Anderson to give the Rams a 13 – 7 lead.
Sustaining drives is what the Cowboys have been able to do when needed but this time The Cowboys were held for a 3 and out forcing their Defence back on the field. This time they managed to get Goff at 3 and 10 on their own 45 yard line but Byron Jones was flagged for a costly “illegal use of hands” which all resulted in a new set of downs and Todd Gurley getting in for a touchdown after breaking free for a 35 yard run.
Out classed at half time and outscored the Cowboys opened the second half with a disappointing drive and from this point on they werre held at arm’s length by the Rams. The score ended 30 – 22 and The Rams deserved the win, the most impressive difference for me between the two sides was The Rams play calling, McVay outshone Lenahan in this department, the Rams were quick, creative and unpredictable. They march on in to the NCF Championship round to face either The Eagles or The Saints next week.
The Cowboys season came to an end, one of the NFL’s youngest teams now looking to 2019 for their next shot at a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
Image credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill