The Los Angeles Rams beat the Dallas Cowboys 13–10 in their first game under new head coach Sean McVay.
At first glance, it appears there’s not a lot to take away from the Los Angeles Rams‘ victory over the Dallas Cowboys. It may even appear that way at second glance. But when you take off your Rams fan hat, and put on your coach’s hat, you began seeing things with better eyes. Optimistic eyes.
It was only the first preseason game of a completely new and overhauled season, so don’t be too quick to over-praise or dismiss postseason chances altogether. Los Angeles looked eager at times, but nervous as well. As a fan, I found myself cringing often, especially to the tune of five fumbles.
But only one, in my opinion, was lost and lost by player error alone. Both teams looked anxious early and it reflected in some dangerous hits, some jarring balls loose, others to the head jarring screws loose. With young teams like the Rams, there’s no better way to clear out mental cobwebs for the next game. You can blame some of what did not go right on offseason inactivity and butterflies. Given that it’s a new era and only preseason, you can also believe Sean McVay will turn things around.
Here are a few things Rams fans can feel good about:
- Rookie receiver Cooper Kupp is the real deal, Holyfield. He had a brief case of nerves as well but overall looked sharp and alert. That lone touchdown credited to his being in the right place at the right time was simply veteran thinking. The smart ones have a knack of making good things find them and Kupp can expect more good fortune.
- Running back Justin Davis had the only “no excuses” fumble by the Rams, but it’s easily overlooked first game. I’ve never been crazy about coach McVay’s Lance Dunbar experiment from a health perspective, and Davis gives me hope that it won’t last long. Davis is a quick set of feet that shoots through holes with good instinct. He finished the game with 70 yards on nine carries.
- Tight end Gerald Everett is probably better than we first thought. I knew he’d be athletic but he particularly impressed with the unwillingness to settle for yards given. He still needs to improve his “get-off” but once going the man moves very well for a big guy. Looks like a starter to me.
- Defensive linemen Matt Longacre, Morgan Fox and Louis Trinca-Pasat got good work in against some of Dallas’ starting offensive line. Frankly, they held their own and at times became a headache for the opposing quarterback. If we could just get that Aaron Donald guy signed…
- For those of you screaming over the signing of veteran, Dan Orlovsky, worry not. He showed no signs of ever being significant. Basically, it’s the Jared Goff/Sean Mannion preseason tour. In limited time and play selection, Goff looked more comfortable and self-confident. Mannion got the bulk of time behind center and completed 18 of 25 for 144 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He’s looked sharper and no doubt will again.
- Opposing Player Watch: I’ll be including this in preseason things to feel good about and the first is Dallas’ third-string quarterback Cooper Rush. The obvious bright spot for Dallas, he produced their only touchdown with an impressive six-play, 82-yard drive capped off by a perfect 25-yard strike to a 6’6”, 290 pound mountain named Rico Gathers. If Rush doesn’t make the Cowboys cut, McVay received a face full of input and might want to pick him up.
At the end of the day, the Rams finished accomplishing more than the other team. More rushing yards (105 yards to 48), more first downs (12 to 9), more total yards (271 to 248), more time of possession (32:50 to 27:10), and gave away less turnovers (one to two…seriously!). Fans would love to have four ugly wins heading into seasonal Week 5 than four amazing wins all season long. Wins are always something to feel good about, especially when it comes to the Rams.