This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end for the Dallas Cowboys. If they lost to the Rams, it wasn’t going to happen like this, not getting run over and dominated on defense.
That was the way they were going to win the game, by pounding the ball with Ezekiel Elliott and tiring out the defense for the Rams. It was the Rams who had one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL this season, not the Cowboys.
The Rams turned the tables on the Cowboys, they were the more physical team and they ran roughshod over Dallas’ defense. Not only did Todd Gurley rush for over 100 yards (115), but the defense also allowed C.J. Anderson to rush for 123 yards, and the duo totaled three scores. Both runners averaged over 5.3 yards-per-carry and the defense that was praised for slowing down the league’s best rushing attack last week was dominated by Sean McVay’s offense.
Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard’s group was embarrassed. Their defense gave up 273 yards rushing and the Cowboys were blown off the ball all game long. The score could have been a lot worse if the defense hadn’t stiffened up on the goal and forced field goals on the Rams’ first two possessions inside the red zone.
Where were the playmakers on defense? Neither DeMarcus Lawrence nor Randy Gregory got any pressure on the quarterback. And those stud linebackers, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, where were their game-changing plays? Where were the defensive stops when the team needed them?
As good as it was for the Rams running it, it was as bad for the Cowboys on the ground. Elliott and the rushing attack could not gain much traction throughout the game. The Rams were daring the Dak Prescott to throw, and the Cowboys had plenty of success throwing it, yet Scott Linehan continued to stubbornly call running plays. Dallas was throwing it at will but refused to alter their game plan.
It wasn’t pretty on offense and blame Linehan for his poor play calling all you want, but his side of the ball didn’t give up 459 yards of offense. Or forget how to stop the run.
Remember in the last half of the season when Cowboys fans praised Richard for his work with the defense and hoped he wouldn’t take a head coaching gig? Let’s hope those same fans recognize that Richard should take the lion’s share of the hit on a horrible effort from his defense.
If the Cowboys are going to take the next step as an organization, they need more in these divisional postseason games. They were embarrassed again, the score was not an indication of how the game went.
They need to learn how to win on the road, they are now 0-8 in their last eight road playoff games.
They are now 0-4 in the second round of the playoffs in the last 11 years.
They will now go into next season 24 years removed from their last NFC Championship game. There’s no other way to put it, that’s pathetic.
The Cowboys had many believing they were destined to live another week, fans were hoping to play the Rams so they had an easier path to the NFC title game. How does that look now?
Dallas didn’t finish the fight, they barely got a punch in.
It was all good just a week ago.
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