The Dallas Cowboys did not have the start to the season they expected. Many mistakes from both the offense and the defense led to a loss against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Rams took an early lead in the first quarter after running back Malcolm Brown scored a one-yard rushing touchdown in the Rams’ first drive of the game. The Cowboys responded with a 19-yard catch by star running back Ezekiel Elliot at the beginning of the second quarter. After two field goals by the Rams, Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a crucial 53-yard field goal in the middle of the second quarter.
The Cowboys offense was on fire by the end of the first half. After seven straight completions by Prescott, Elliot scored another touchdown with a one-yard rush into the end zone to put the Cowboys in the lead 14-13 at halftime.
The defense seemed to struggle in points throughout the game. Malcolm Brown scored another touchdown for the Rams with a two-yard run into the end zone in the middle of the third quarter. Since then, the Cowboys defense began to improve, starting with cornerback Chidobe Awuzie’s crucial interception, which followed a Zuerlein 38-yard field goal that put Dallas within three points of the Rams.
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The biggest mistake for the Cowboys came in the fourth quarter when they had the opportunity to tie the game up with a potential field goal, however, the team decided to go for it on four and three. The Cowboys failed to convert the first down and were forced to turn the ball over to the Rams.
In the last minute of the game, wide receiver Michael Gallup made a crucial play by receiving a 47-yard pass from Prescott to put the Cowboys at the Rams’ 19-yard line, however, the play was flagged for pass interference by Gallup. The Cowboys failed to convert a first down again which gave the Rams the victory with a score of 20-17.
The Cowboys lost two players after Sunday’s game due to injury. Tight end Blake Jawin will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and linebacker Leighton Vander will be out for 6-8 weeks with a collarbone injury, USA Today reports.
Elliot had a solid game with 22 carries for 96 yards. Prescott also had a solid game with 266 passing yards and one touchdown pass. The trio of wide receivers in Lamb, Cooper and Gallup were quiet, with no touchdown catches from either of the three. Cooper was Prescott’s main wide receiver target in Sunday night’s game with 10 receptions and 81 yards gained.
Lamb was not too happy with his debut game on Sunday and thought he could have given more. “Honestly, I’m not really too pleased with myself or my performance,” says Lamb according to the Athletic reporter Jon Machota. “I feel like there’s a lot more stuff that I left on the table… I could have played a lot faster. I could have done a lot of things better to be a better option and better target for Dak.”
Not only was the missed field goal and missed field goal opportunity costly for the Cowboys, but the flag given to Gallup proved to be the biggest loss for the Cowboys in the game on Sunday. “I was surprised there was a call either way” said head coach Mike McCarthy to ESPN. “Obviously, I’m very disappointed in the call, especially that late. You don’t see that at a critical part of the game”
For the offense, it would be good to see Prescott use more of Lamb and Gallup in Sunday’s game against Atlanta. With the loss of Jawin in the offense and losing Jason Witten in free agency, the Cowboys are now forced to use their reserves of Sean McKeon and Dalton Schultz to help fill in that hole in the tight end position.
The Cowboys hope to bounce back from their game one loss this Sunday where they will play the Atlanta Falcons in their home opener on Sunday in Arlington, TX in front of a limited capacity crowd at AT&T Stadium.