By Cedric Williams
The resurgence of the Los Angeles Rams continued on Sunday when the club went on the road and played a nail-biter of a game, but managed to make their way home with a thrilling 35-30 win over the host Dallas Cowboys. Things didn’t start so well, as Dallas used a huge second quarter to take a 24-13 lead.
But the Rams cut the lead to 24-16 by the half, then put together a sensational second half to take the lead and eventually hold off the defending NFC East champion Cowboys. Dallas gained a lot of yards and scored a lot of points, but LA was better, and that’s why our grades are high marks all around following the Rams’ big win.
Things started off slowly, with the Rams managing just a couple of field goals until midway through the second quarter. But once LA got going, Dallas had a hard time stopping them. That was especially true for running back Todd Gurley, who had a monster day with 215 total yards (121 rushing, 94 receiving) on 30 touches, including a 53-yard touchdown catch and run that gave LA its first lead late in the third quarter.
Gurley, the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for September, also did a magnificent job when the Rams wanted to control the ball and extend their lead in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys knew he was getting the ball, but they couldn’t stop him—at least not enough to prevent LA from putting together three field goal chances, which helped put the game away.
Quarterback Jared Goff also had a nice day, with 255 passing yards, two touchdowns, and a 98.7 passer rating. The Rams finished the day with 412 total yards, 24 first downs, and zero turnovers.
The fact that the Rams won is probably why we gave the defense a high mark instead of something lower for Sunday’s performance. Because in that first half, the Rams “D” was just atrocious.
Dallas had the ball four times in that first half and scored all four times, with three of those drives ending in touchdowns. That first half made it look like it was going to be a long day for the Rams.
But in the second half, the defense was much better. The Rams held Dallas to just six points, while forcing three punts, and two turnovers (one by interception and one on downs as the Cowboys tried to rally late).
Dallas did finish with 440 total yards and quarterback Dak Prescott did throw three touchdown passes. But again, almost all of that came in the first half. Despite all the yards allowed, the Rams defense was key in Sunday’s victory.
Special Teams: A+
Goff was great. Gurley was phenomenal. But the star of the day for LA was kicker Greg Zuerlein, who banged home a team record seven field goals and two PATs in Sunday’s win.
For the season, Zuerlein is 28-for-28 on his kicks—14-for-14 on FGs and 14-14 on PATs. And on Sunday, the Rams needed “Greg the Leg” to be his best and boy, did he deliver.
Past versions of the Rams would’ve probably been buried by the bad start. But this club showed a resilience not seen from players in those uniforms since the franchise’s days back in St. Louis.
And the credit for that has to go to rookie head coach Sean McVay, who has the Rams off to a 3-1 start just as they were last year. But there’s something about this year’s three wins in four games that feels better than how the season began last year.
“You feel like you’re in a good position,” McVay said following Sunday’s win, “but there’s a lot of football to be played.”
The 3-1 Rams will host a huge early season NFC West showdown against the 2-2 Seattle Seahawks next Sunday at The Coliseum. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.