Cowboys fail to maintain strong start in 35-30 loss to Rams

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Photo: Tim Heitman-USA Today Sports

The Dallas Cowboys got off to a strong start, but could not sustain it as the Los Angeles Rams rallied in the second half en route to a 35-30 win at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. The Cowboys are now at 2-2 on the season and the question remains, where do they go from here?

Here are a few observations from Sunday’s game:

 

Second Half Shut Down On Offense

The Dallas Cowboys had played as well as you could offensively in the first half from controlling time of possession to running the ball effectively with Elliott and Dak Prescott in control. Then, the second half happened.

Credit the L.A. Rams and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for making necessary adjustments in the second half to limit the Cowboys offensively but it was a far departure from the relative ease that they had played with in the first half.

Defensive Struggles Plague Dallas

The Cowboys had several playmakers out on defense, most notably linebacker Sean Lee, and it showed in a bad way on Sunday. The linebacking core of Jaylon Smith, Damien Wilson and Justin Durant struggled to contain the Rams in both the run and the pass, especially with Todd Gurley.

Gurley had a career-best performance on Sunday, finishing with 215 total yards and a receiving touchdown. As for the pass rush, they struggled to get anything going as well. DeMarcus Lawrence did record a sack, but it was a far departure from last week’s effort in Arizona and Jared Goff picked Dallas apart to the tune of 255 yards and two touchdowns. The task to shut down an offense won’t get any easier next week with Green Bay coming to town.

Special Teams Proves To Be The Difference

Ryan Switzer has a lot of speed and could develop into a solid contributor as a returner, but Sunday was not the best day at the office for the rookie. Early on in the game, Switzer took out two kick returns in the end zone that didn’t even get back to the 20-yard line and fumbled a return that would eventually lead to a Rams touchdown.

On the flip side, a long Rams kickoff return set up one of seven field goals by Greg Zuerlein and he was one of the main reasons that Los Angeles stayed in the game until they took full control in the second half.

The Road Doesn’t Get Any Easier

Sunday’s loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for head coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys. In a game that they had control in the first half, Dallas simply couldn’t get close the deal when they absolutely needed to.

Dallas now has a pivotal game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The motivation will no doubt be there after Green Bay ended Dallas’ season last year, but the execution will need to be much better if they want to come out on top.

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