The Dallas Cowboys record in one-possession games last season second-worst in the league. Well, they’re on there way to a repeat performance falling to Los Angeles Rams 20-17 in the season opener.
The same issues that hurt Dallas last year continues as the offense rolls up the yards but not the points. They were shutout in both the first and third quarters scoring both touchdowns in the second quarter. On top of that, the red zone woes continue as they went 2-of-4 and went just 3-of-12. The line allowed three sacks but got solid performances out of guard Connor Williams and un-drafted rookie tackle Terence Steele from Texas Tech.
Steele beat out Cameron Fleming, who suffered a leg injury in the second quarter getting rolled up on during an extra point attempt. Both Williams and Steele allowed a sack each with Williams surprisingly holding his own against all-pro Aaron Donald.
Quarterback Dak Prescott led an offense that finished with 380 yards and 24 first downs throwing for 266 yards and a score. Running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 96 yards and a score on 22 carries while adding three catches for 31 yards and another score. Amari Cooper led in receiving with 10 catches for 81 yards. Highly regarded rookie CeeDee Lamb had a solid debut catching five passes for 59 yards. However, he needed 60 as he came up a yard short on a fourth down with 11:40 left in the game. The Cowboys were in field goal range and could have easily tied it.
Defensively despite surrendering 422 yards and being on the field for 35:38 the unit gave the offense a chance to win late. Corner Chidobe Awuzie had the units only turnover on a nice interception that the offense failed to capitalize on. Jaylon Smith tied Aldon Smith with a team-high 11 tackles.
Aldon Smith returned to the field for the first time in five years with a vengeance notching the teams only sack and hitting Rams quarterback Jared Goff twice a team-high. He lived in the backfield and should continue to get better with every game. Unfortunately, the Cowboys will be down two linebackers when they host the Atlanta Falcons next week as Leighton Vander Esch injured his collarbone in the first quarter and is expected to undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve. He joins Sean Lee who didn’t suit up tonight.
Tight end Blake Jarwin also suffered an ankle injury late in the first half and didn’t return. For the Cowboys to pick up a win next week they need the offense to step up and score points as well as sustaining drives to give the defense a rest. On the flip side, the defense needs to generate more of a pass rush as Goff had ample time in the pocket most of the game. They also need to do a better job of getting off the field on third down as the Rams converted 9-of-17 with a lot of short-yardage situations.
The Rams posted the only score of the first quarter taking the opening drive down the field with ease capped off by a one-yard Malcolm Brown touchdown. Roughly three minutes into the second quarter Elliott found the end zone on a 19-yard pass from Prescott tieing things up. The Rams posted back-to-back scoring drives but both resulted in field goals allowing the Cowboys to take momentum into the half with a one-yard Elliott touchdown run with 17 seconds left giving them a 14-13.
The final scores came in the third off a two-yard Brown touchdown run and a 33-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal. Dallas looks to get their first win of the season next week against the Falcons.