Finally! With morale at one of the worst points in their modern history, the Dallas Cowboys showed up and dominated the Los Angeles Rams with an unbelievable 44-21 victory. The big win helped keep Dallas in first place in the NFC East.
The Cowboys got their first win of 2019 against an opponent with a winning record. The Rams came into Dallas with momentum but leave having likely killed their chance at making the playoffs.
Ezekiel Elliott was the focal point today on offense, amassing 117 yards and two touchdowns on 24 rushing attempts. He also had 43 receiving yards on three catches; arguably his most impressive game of 2019 given the opponent and the stakes.
Tony Pollard also got in on the rushing action with 131 yards on 12 carries, highlighted by a 44-yard touchdown in garbage time. The combined yardage for Elliott and Pollard was even bigger than their huge day earlier this season against the Miami Dolphins.
After getting decimated by the Rams’ rushing attack in the 2018 playoffs, Dallas’ defense responded today with an impressive shutdown. Todd Gurley only had 20 yards on 11 carries and L.A. was forced to abandon the run completely in the second half.
The day started with disappointment for Cowboys fans as the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a last-minute victory over Washington. It gave the Eagles the top spot in the NFC East for just about three hours.
Can Dallas take all of the positives from today and start a run? Next week’s big showdown in Philadelphia will tell us a lot about who the Cowboys are and what they might be able to accomplish in January.
- Dak Prescott had a solid day with 212 yards and two touchdowns, one to Jason Witten and another to Tavon Austin. He made plays when needed but the big lead allowed him to lean on the run game and not have to carry the load. It was a welcome sight.
- Sean Lee picked off a pass and returned it 25 yards in one of the highlight plays for the defense. With Leighton Vander Esch missing again, Lee stepped up with key stops and a sack for a throwback performance.
- Jourdan Lewis was also a star today, contributing a sack and a critical pass breakup on a third-down attempt. He also led the team with seven tackles and remains the Cowboys’ most tangibly impressive cornerback.
- Kicker Kai Forbath, just added this week to replace the struggling Brett Maher, connected on three field goals and all five extra points. He hit two kicks from 42 and another from 50, all of which went right down the middle. He did have two kickoffs go out of bounds, but overall it was a nice debut.
- Witten’s receiving touchdown was the 72nd of his career, leaving him just one shy of the Cowboys’ all-time record held by Dez Bryant.
- Speaking of receivers, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb each had just a single catch today. The trio was only targeted seven times total, thanks largely to the big lead but also an early strategic shift which helped Dallas get ahead.