The Cowboys kept fighting even after a 20-7 halftime score, but this time there was no coming back. Dallas’ 2018 season ended with a 30-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round.
The game will be most remembered for the abysmal run defense from the Cowboys. They gave up a total of 273 rushing yards, with both Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson going for over 100 yards, and three touchdowns on the ground.
Los Angeles didn’t even need their passing game, which only produced 186 yards. They dominated the clock and the scoreboard with just their rushing attack.
For Dallas, Ezekiel Elliott was stymied for most of the game. He had just 47 yards on 20 carries, which included a touchdown. Unlike most games, Zeke wasn’t even a real factor in the passing game with just two catches.
Dak Prescott was mostly good, throwing for 266 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. He also scored once as a runner.
But with the good was the bad, and Dak did have some rough plays. Perhaps his worst was a decision to throw the ball into coverage on 3rd-and-5 instead of running for an easy first down in the first half. The Rams went up 20-7 on their next drive.
But again, the real story here was the defense. The Cowboys had no answer for the Los Angeles run game, with Jaylon Smith especially looking befuddled by misdirection plays. Later in the game, the Rams just outpowered Dallas over and over both in the trenches and with Anderson’s power running.
The better team won, and the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason has begun.
- Michael Gallup led all receivers with six catches for 119 yards. Amari Cooper also had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.
- The Rams ran 28 pass plays and Dallas only touched Goff one time with a QB hit, but never sacked and barely pressured him. DeMarcus Lawrence never made a sound, which might come up in his contract talks this year.
- Sean Lee played in a steady rotation with Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, and it may be the last time you see him in a Cowboys uniform. Dallas can save $7 million in salary cap space by releasing the veteran LB this offseason.
- Speaking of last game’s with Dallas, it’s hard to imagine Scott Linehan returning as Offensive Coordinator after this season. The Cowboys seemed to win in spite of their offense much of the year, and nothing from these playoff games changed that feeling.
- Rico Gathers had a chance at a big play on play-action but dropped it, reminding us why he probably isn’t going to be around next year either.
- This game reminded me that Travis Frederick being gone was a bad thing. Not only did Dallas struggle to get runs up the middle, but Aaron Donald was a terror all night. That’s not a knock on Joe Looney, but more that we needed our All-Pro center to help win this one. Looney would’ve been better at left guard this year than Connor Williams or Xavier Su’a-Filo.
- The loss makes it five-straight times that Dallas has lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. They fail to return to the NFC Championship Game yet again, the last time being in 1995.