The Dallas Cowboys came into Sunday’s game at AT&T Stadium for their game against the Los Angeles Rams feeling pretty good. They won in Arizona against the Cardinals last Monday night for their FIRST win EVER against the Cardinals in Scottsdale. They were 2-1 and tied for first in the NFC East. They looked to move to 3-1 in the first half, but totally fell apart in the second half in all three phases, and dropped to 2-2 on the young season one quarter through the year, falling by a final score of 35-30.
Dallas won the coin toss and elected to receive and Dak Prescott led the offense on a 7-play, 64-yard drive over 3:30, but the drive stalled, forcing a Dan Bailey 34-yard field goal with 11:30 left in the first quarter, putting the home team up 3-0.
The Rams responded with 7:07 left in the first quarter when Greg Zuerlein nailed a 49-yard field goal that capped a 9-play, 53-yard drive and consumed 4:23, tying the game at 3-3.
The Cowboys marched right back, going on a drive that moved 81 yards in 15 plays and took a whopping 8:02 off the clock. The drive culminated when Prescott hit Ezekiel Elliott on a 10-yard TD pass with 14:05 left in the first half. Bailey hit the PAT, and the Dallas lead moved to 10-3.
Thanks to a 66-yard return by Pharoh Cooper on the ensuing kickoff, LA started in great position at the Dallas 35. The Dallas Defense stiffened and forced a 44-yard field goal by Zuerlein, narrowing the lead to 10-6 with 12:39 left in the first half.
On the next Dallas possession Alfred Morris broke away on a 70-yard run, setting up a 1-yard TD run by Elliott with 10:53 left in the half. The drive was 4 plays, 75 yards and took just 1:46. Bailey’s extra point moved the lead to 17-6.
Dallas forced a punt on the next LA possession, but uncharacteristically, Ryan Switzer muffed the return and the Rams recovered at the Dallas 18. They took 5 plays and 1:56 to move the 18 yards into the end zone for their first TD of the game. After Zuerlein’s PAT, the score was 17-13 in favor of the home team with 6:33 left in the half.
Dallas promptly marched 75 yards in 9 plays over 4:42 before Prescott hit Brice Butler from 10 yards out, ending the possession with another touchdown with 1:51 left in the half. After Butler tacked on the extra point, Dallas was up 24-13.
Not to be outdone, LA scored on the last play of the half when Zuerlein blasted a 44-yard field goal, narrowing the Ram deficit to 24-13 at intermission.
The Rams notched yet another field goal at the end of an 8-play, 54-yard drive that took 3:15 off the clock when Zuerlein connected on a 30-yarder with 7:26 left in the third quarter, narrowing the score to 24-19.
On their next possession, Goff connected on a 53-yard TD pass with Todd Gurley, II, in what would be the final Rams TD of the contest. The drive was 4 plays and 90 yards and took just 1:59. Zuerlein added the extra point once again, and the Rams had their first lead of the game, 26-24 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
LA extended the lead to 5, at 29-24, when Zuerlein ended an 11-play, 78-yard drive that took 4:26 off the clock, by connecting on a 28-yard field goal with 11:56 left in the game.
Things went from bad to worse when Prescott fumbled the ball away to the Ram defense with 11:00 left in the game at the Dallas 29. LA only manage to move 4 yards on the drive and took only 1:19 off the clock, but Zuerlein hit his sixth field goal from 43 yards out with 9:41 left in the game, and the Rams led 32-24.
Prescott led the Cowboys to a final touchdown with 7:11 left in the game when he hit tight end James Hannah from 28 yards out, concluding a 5-play, 75-yard drive that took 2:30 off the clock, narrowing the gap to 32-30. The ‘Boys went for a 2-point conversion to attempt to tie the contest. Prescott ran in from the 3 untouched, but Travis Frederick was flagged for a questionable holding call that negated the conversion. After the 10-yard penalty, Prescott and company remained on the field and tried for two for a second time. This time the Rams were called for defensive holding, so the Cowboys got 5 yards of the penalty back. Unfortunately, on the third and final try, the attempt was no good.
The Rams added a 33-yard field goal by Zeurlein, his seventh of the game, with 1:55 left in the game, moving the score to 35-30, and capping a 12-play, 68-yard drive that drained 5:16 off the clock.
Dallas managed to drive the ball down the field, but on a key fourth down pass, Elliott was dropped one yard short of a first down. LA ran one play in victory formation and the game was over.
Quarterback Dak Prescott blamed the loss on his play and said he failed to make the throws he needed to make and had to improve quickly. He pointed out that it was early in the year though, and said he was confident the Cowboys would bounce back.
Head Coach Jason Garrett said in his post-game presser after the game that his team has a lot to fix on offense, defense and special teams before next Sunday’s game at AT & T Stadium when they host Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff game that Green Bay won on the last play of the game. It will be very hard for the Cowboys to pull off a much-needed victory in that game, but they have to find a way or they be staring at a 2-3 record. This season is setting up to be quirky all over the NFL, as upsets are occurring every week of the season thus far. HOPEULLY, Dallas can get it together and salvage the season.