Despite the relatively low score, this was a showdown between two young gunslingers. Quarterbacks who are forever tied by the 2016 draft, Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams chose the first overall and Dak Prescot of the Dallas Cowboys took the fourth round.
And both were impressive with Prescott completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 266 yards and a touchdown score of 92.5 passing. For his part, Goff was good with 64.5 percent of his attempts for 275 yards and an interception, a score of 79.4.
However, both callers of the signal were aided by a robust running attack. Ezekiel Elliott led the way with a 96-yard run for Dallas, the Cowboys for a total of 1
And if the loss itself wasn’t bad enough, there was even more bad news for the night’s festivities. With off-season training and preseason games canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and delayed and possibly modified training camp, there were concerns that injuries could be a problem. And sure enough, the Cowboys have undergone some significant ones.
Leighton Vander Esch, who missed six games last year due to a neck injury, started early in this one with what has been described as an injured collarbone. That disappointing news was then followed by tight end Blake Jarwin and offensive tackle Cam Erving who came out in the second quarter, both appearing to have suffered knee injuries.
But in terms of the Rams attack, they made it look relatively easy out of the gate, as they hit the red zone on each of their first five full possessions of the game. The only time they failed was in the closing seconds of the first half.
It all started when they took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in seven rounds for seven quick points, rookie Cam Akers took the prize with his first NFL score. This was then followed by three consecutive trips to the shooting range for the Rams. And while kicker Samuel Slomen made his first attempt from the left uppercut, he followed suit by converting from 35 and 31 yards on his next two attempts.
The funny thing is that in the middle the Cowboys were actually ahead, 14-13.
No matter that the Cowboys defense may have struggled for the first 30 minutes, Prescott was more than willing to confront Goff. Prescott led an eight game, 80 yards early in the second quarter, completing all five of his passing attempts for 67 yards. Elliott, however, would really provide the drive highlight after making a swinging pass along the right sideline and then working his way through at least four LA defenders to the end zone.
While new kicker Greg Zuerlein pushed a 50-yard field goal attempt to the right in the team’s next set no good, Prescot regained control as the second quarter ended. Starting at their own 27-yard line with 1:52 remaining, the Cowboys went the distance with Elliott getting his second touchdown of the night on a 1-yard bull run.
But it was Prescott who put the team in that position, as he again went 5 for 5 in his passing attempts, this time for 56 yards, finding four different receivers. Then he let loose on a 12-yard run to the 1-yard line, which set Elliott’s score with just under 20 seconds left in the half.
Even though Dallas had the momentum and had possession to start the third quarter, the team couldn’t capitalize. The Cowboys had to bet on their first set of the second half and then once again were unable to stop Rams’ attack, which used 11 plays and beat 5:51 on the clock traveling 90 yards to the end. areas. The big shot came on a 30-yard pass to Robert Woods with Goff finishing things off with a 17-yard completion to Josh Reynolds to regain the lead, 20-14.
But Dallas took a break when an interception by cornerback Chidobe Awuzie ultimately resulted in a 33-yard field goal from Zeurlein to bring the Cowboys to three. Then, after finally forcing the Rams to punt, Dallas had the opportunity to close things early in the fourth quarter.
Prescott led his team to the 11-yard line in Los Angeles, but in the fourth and 3, McCarthy made his decision to be aggressive and go for it instead of settling for the basket. And although Prescott was able to throw a pass to CeeDee Lamb in the middle, the rookie was stopped before the scorer, the Cowboys flipped the ball on the downs.
They never got another chance. The Dallas offense took the field two more times, most recently with 2:28 left in the game, and Prescott appeared to have a whopping 47-yard completion to Michael Gallup that would have given the Cowboys the ball at 19 yards for the Rams. line. But questionable interference on the offensive pass on Gallup canceled the game.
And with that, the Cowboys’ hopes were dashed.