Who would have thought that without Dak Prescott, the Cowboys would be 3-0? Not too many. But such has been Cooper Rush’s ability to keep things simple and having some luck while the defense has balled out, the Cowboys have been able to string wins together.
But on Sunday, the Rams present a huge opportunity to make a statement. With Matthew Stafford and the Rams being very shaky, to say the least, Dallas will be confident to roll into L.A. and get the job done.
But how do they do it?
Here are three keys to victory for the Cowboys on Sunday.
Curtail Cooper Kupp
Now, it will be virtually impossible to stop Cooper Kupp from getting the ball. The star wide receiver already has 42 receptions and over 400 receiving yards in the first four games. Stafford went to his receiver 14 times against the 49ers.
There is a saying, “Don’t get beat by what you know.” Dallas knows that this season has been Kupp or bust for Stafford, and they can’t afford a 13 rec, 145-yard, two-touchdown game on Sunday.
A ‘wow’ stat: There’s a WR in the NFL who has more receptions through four games than a starting QB has completions.
• Cooper Kupp receptions: 42
• Justin Fields completions: 34
Bonkers to have that going into Week 5 of a season.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 4, 2022
Keep Aaron Donald at bay
Easier said than done, right? Well, we all know #99 is an absolute monster and game-wrecker, but the Cowboys offensive line is going to have to play to their best on Sunday. Rush has only been sacked four times through all five games, two of which were against Tampa Bay in Week 1.
Keeping Rush upright is paramount to any chance Dallas has of winning this game, and #99 can't be allowed to take over the game. He only has two sacks through four games, and we don't want him to double his season tally in one game.
Rush & Co. needs to stay ahead of the chains
Staying ahead of the chains is critical for Dallas on Sunday. What the offense has been ok at this season is avoiding third-and-long situations. Kellen Moore has done a decent enough job with his play calling to allow Rush to navigate games relatively easily.
The use of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard has been good, and the receivers, now with Michael Gallup back, have been making plays. If Dallas gets bogged down and faces third and long regularly, we bring Aaron Donald and the Rams pass rush into the game, and that rarely has a good outcome.
Rams DC Raheem Morris on what he has seen from Cowboys QB Cooper Rush and why he has had so much success this season: pic.twitter.com/gXZQuqGkbf
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 7, 2022
Rush has managed games well so far this season and will again need to be on point, but it is also on Kellen Moore to call a game that suits the quarterback and doesn’t put him in vulnerable positions.
It sounds simple enough but putting it into practice is another thing entirely.