The SoFi stand – Rams D redemption
The key to beating the Cowboys was holding Ezekiel Elliott to under 100 yards. After giving up 262 yards rushing a year ago, the Rams defense shaved that down to just 136 yards. To be more precise, the Cowboys star running back rushed 22 times for just 96 yards and one touchdown. When the Cowboys flipped to Tony Pollard, the Rams held his two rushing attempts to just 10 yards.
If not for quarterback Dak Prescott’s three scrambles for 30 yards, the Cowboys running attack would have barely broken 100 yards. While the 2019 Cowboys were more than happy to run with Elliott, the 2020 Cowboys have a new head coach in Mike McCarthy. His offenses in Green Bay heavily emphasized the passing game, and there is every reason to believe that the same pass-happy approach will eventually take root in Dallas.
Pass the defense, please
So the Rams defense surely sacrificed some pass defense, right? The Rams 3-4 defense is predicated on stopping the pass with a nickel or dime package and stopping the run with the base defense. After all, to stop Elliott the Rams had to sell out by sticking 8-9 defenders in the box, right?
Well, not exactly. While Dak Prescott threw for just 212 yards in the 2019 matchup, he threw for two touchdowns. This year? He did up the passing yards to 266 yards. But he did so by throwing 16 more passes. And he only threw for one touchdown, this time to running back Ezekiel Elliott. Unlike a year ago when the Cowboys targetted third and fourth options in the passing game, the Cowboys completed passes to their wide receivers. Despite 18 completions, the perhaps overly praised Cowboys receivers accounted for 190 yards receiving. With just 12 completions, the Rams four wide receivers accounted for 193 yards receiving.