Heading into the Dallas Cowboys divisional round matchup with the Los Angeles Rams, there was a feeling that the defense would be able to have an effect on the game. For nearly all the game, that wasn't the case, and the Cowboys fell to the Rams 30-22 to see their 2018 NFL season coming to an end. Whether you look at the stats or go by the game film, either way, it's pretty clear that the Dallas Cowboys defense got outplayed.
The Los Angeles Rams had 30 first downs on the game and 17 on the ground. Both C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards and the Rams ran for 273 rushing yards during the game.
It didn't matter whether it was Anderson or Gurley, they were able to gash the Cowboys front seven on a regular basis throughout the game and kept the Cowboys off-balance. When they weren't running with that incredible effectiveness, they were running play action with amazing effectiveness. If you take away the three kneel downs at the end of the game, the Rams ran the ball 46 times for 275 yards for an average of 5.97 yards per carry.
It was clear in the first quarter that the Rams were going to have an advantage on the ground.
On the season, the Cowboys had only allowed 94 yards per game rushing. The Rams ran for nearly three times the Cowboys per game rushing yards allowed. The Rams out-gained the Cowboys on the ground by 223 yards. The Dallas Cowboys were unable to slow them down enough.
Through the air, Quarterback Jared Goff wasn't good, but he really didn't have to be. The Rams didn't allow the Cowboys to get much pressure on their signal caller. He was only 15 of 28 for 186 yards for 6.6 yards per attempt.
The Rams were able to convert on five of their 11 third downs and two of two fourth downs. On third and fourth downs combined, they were seven for 13. The Cowboys just couldn't get off the field throughout the game. A lot of credit goes to the Rams offense, which was efficient and kept the Dallas defense on the field for a little over 36 minutes of game time.
The Los Angeles Rams drives:
- 11 plays, 68 yards, 5:16, Field Goal
- 16 plays, 70 yards, 7:23, Field Goal
- 9 plays, 76 yards, 4:20, Touchdown
- 6 plays, 64 yards, 2:38, Touchdown
- 6 plays, 29 yards, 0:35, Missed Field Goal (End of the First Half)
- 8 plays, 48 yards, 4:04, Field Goal
- 5 plays, 23 yards, 2:10, Punt
- 12 plays, 65 yards, 7:36, Touchdown
- 7 plays, 23 yards, 2:11, End of the Game
The Rams were able to score on six of their nine touchdowns on the day, missed on a long field goal at the end of the half and the final one was all about getting a first down. The Rams had scoring opportunities on seven of their eight drives of consequence.
The Dallas Cowboys offense was solid this season, but they needed the defense to come up with a good game to advance to the NFC Championship game for the first time since 1996, and the defense came up empty. As a team, they couldn't afford to get beat like they did on Saturday night.
The Cowboys are growing as a team and are one of the younger teams in the NFL with an ascending defense that should have Cowboys fans excited for the 2019 season, but it leaves a pretty bad taste in the collective mouth of Cowboys Nation. Their best unit on the season let them down when they needed them most.