Cowboys 44, Rams 21
The Cowboys vs Rams: Good, bad, and ugly
Coming into Sunday's game, the Cowboys were 0-6 against teams with a winning record. By the grace of a Christmas miracle, the boys got a much needed dominant 44-21 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. This was the best offensive showcase from the Cowboys all season, and was their first big victory since they defeated the Eagles in Week 7.
- I've said it once and I'll say it again, Ezekiel Elliott has been the best player on the Cowboys this season and Sunday's performance was a return to form for the Cowboys premiere running back. He ran for two scores and after his first touchdown, he essentially put the game out of the Rams' reach. His running mate Tony Pollard had his best game as a Cowboy since his break out game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3. The duo went on to make history Sunday when both running backs ran for more than 100 yards. According to Cowboys.com, the Cowboys haven't had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since Emmitt Smith and Chris Warren 21 years ago. Now both Elliott and Pollard have done this twice in the same season. This is a franchise first. If the Cowboys continue to predicate their offense on the run game, they can compete against anyone in the league.
- Jason Witten and Sean Lee had return to form games as if they were both playing in their prime. Witten had an amazing one-handed catch for a 19 yard touchdown in the first quarter to open up the scoring. This catch was vintage Jason Witten, and showcased that he is still a reliable tight end at age 37. Lee also had his best game as a Cowboy this season. With Leighton Vander Esh being out for the fouth consecutive game, Lee has stepped up and has become one of the vocal leaders on defense along with Demarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith. He had a huge interception before half-time. It was his first interception since 2017. This set up an Ezekiel Elliott score and the Cowboys took a 28-7 lead. This interception proved to be a momentum killer for the Rams the rest of the game.
- Sean Lee wasn't the only Cowboys defender who had a good game. Rather the entire defense as a whole played great until the 4th quarter in garbage time. They were able to hold Todd Gurley and the Rams' offense to a putrid 22 yards total rushing yards. The Rams seemingly had no answer for the Cowboys rushing attack. Goff was continuously under pressure the defense forced him to make bad throws throughout the entire game.
-After a big victory like this, I will replace a bad note with another good note. I would like to be the first one to welcome Kai Forbath to the Dallas Cowboys. When Brett Maher was released, the boys needed a consistent kicker to fill his shoes. Enter Forbath. The journeyman kicker was released by the Patriots after their loss to the Texans, but his first game with the Cowboys was nothing short of spectacular. He made three field goals and all five of his extra point attempts. Needless to say, this is just want the Cowboys needed after letting go of Maher.
- A slow start was not what the Cowboys wanted coming into this must win game. Dak Prescott missed some throws early on including a missed opportunity with an open Amari Cooper. Luckily, Prescott and the boys were able to overcome this slow start and out up 28 points before halftime. Had Prescott been accurate to start the game, the Cowboys could have put up a 50 burger against the Rams. This is more of a nitpick, for the Cowboys seeming played a perfect game.
-Michael Bennett just cannot seem to play a game in which he doesn't get penalized. According to nflpenalties.com, this is his third consecutive game with a penalty and his 4th in his last 5 games. Bennett should clean up his penalties going forward. Again this is more me nitpicking to find something bad when the Cowboys played an amazing game.
- The opening kickoff and what transpired afterwards was bizarre to say the least. Allegedly, Prescott said he wanted to play defense first, but used words that lead to some confusion. When asked again by the referee, Prescott said he wanted to kick and defer in the second half. It sounded as if the Cowboys wanted to kick twice once to start the game and again after halftime. It got so confusing that the league had to step in and fix it to where the Rams kicked the ball to start the second half. Prescott later said that it was a "bad use of words by me", and later joked about it in his post-game press conference. It's not every day that a kickoff is the subject of controversy.
- There really isn't much else I can say about the Cowboys from an ugly perspective. But for the Rams, my goodness what happened to the their superior offense. Todd Gurley had no answer for the Cowboys front 7 and has not looked the same since his subpar performance in the Super Bowl. He had two terrible dropped passed including one that would have been a wide open two-point conversion killing any kind of momentum the Rams where trying to build. He has had games in which he rushed for more than 100 yards this season, but those are few and far between. His days as the primer running back in football are over, and the stage has been set for Ezekiel Elliott to be the best back in the NFL.
- Jared Goff's contract appears to be the worst in the NFL, and it's not close. Both Prescott and Goff started the game cold missing wide open receivers and forcing the offenses to punt in their first couple of positions. Prescott was able to overcome this sluggish start, but Goff never looked good until garbage time. Prescott outplayed Goff after the Cowboys' initial score, and The Rams' offense could never get any kind of rhythm after the Cowboys went up 28-7 at halftime. Big contracts aren't always the answer to unproven young quarterbacks. Take the hint Jerry.
The Cowboys celebration shall be short lived, for next Sunday it's essentially the NFC East Championship Game between the boys and the Eagles. If the Cowboys win they are in the playoffs, if they lose they will have to bear the Redskins and pray that the Giants beat the Eagles. This sets up a great matchup in an otherwise underwhelming division.