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Los Angeles Rams At Dallas Cowboys: Report Card Has Ups And Downs

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The Rams finish the first quarter of the season with an impressive 3-1 record. Who grades out well in their 35-30 win over the Boys?

Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff registers another impressive performance. First, he lead the offense to another strong performance with 35 team points. Goff on the day had 255 yards and two touchdowns, without any interceptions. He did nearly throw one INT on the Rams last drive, but he was bailed out. Also, he’s got to try and not allow the DE to strip-sack him again, but that’s nitpicking. Goff had a terrific day spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, and keeping drives going. He looked calm, cool, and collected all game again. It’s evident he’s a totally different QB from last year.

Running Backs

121 rushing yards for an average of 5.3 YPC, and also a career-high seven receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown. When I say Jared Goff is clearly a different guy, the same can be applied for RB Todd Gurley. Playing with sky high confidence, he’s running with power, more elusiveness, and vision. More than anything, Gurley has been sensational as a WR out of the backfield, and his 53-yard touchdown catch was an absolute thing of beauty. The Rams need to keep riding this horse.

Wide Receivers

For an offense that threw up 35 points, you’d think the WR’s would have had much more production, but that’s the way this offense goes. The top dog was Cooper Kupp who had a 60-yard performance and a TD, all while extending multiple drives. Outside of him, Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins were largely non-factors, chipping in with 17 yards receiving each. Tavon Austin showed his worth as a RB, with six carries for 48 yards, though he looked electric and explosive when he got touches.

Tight Ends

Finally Tyler Higbee shows his face in the receiving game with a 47-yard performance, though he also had a crosser/wheel route that would have went for a long TD if Jared Goff didn’t overthrow him. Higbee also did an excellent job as a run blocker, and that’s where his major improvements have come. Rookie Gerald Everett was quiet today.

Offensive Line

Incredible. Truly incredible. These guys only allowed one sack, and Jared Goff wasn’t even hit on the play. Rob Havenstein ran DE Demarcus Lawrence out of the play, and Lawrence just happened to slap the ball out of Goff’s hands - which registers as a strip-sack. Outside of that, the pockets Goff had were immaculate, and they opened holes all day for Gurley and Tavon Austin. Aaron Kromer, and OL, take a bow.

Defensive Line

Nothing to get excited about here. The only defensive lineman to get a sack was Michael Brockers, though Aaron Donald was extremely close to getting one, which turned into a big play for the Cowboys. AD and Brockers had multiple pressures in the game, but in most part, they weren’t huge factors in the run game or against the pass.

Linebackers

Mark Barron had the major play for the LB group with an INT. Connor Barwin chipped in with a sack, but outside of that? Not a good day at all by these guys. Alec Ogletree once again had a bad game, specifically on a dump-off to Ezekiel Elliott where he missed the tackle and lead to a 10-yard TD. They had all sorts of issues against the run (specifically in the first half) allowing four YPC (felt like a lot more). The OLB’s really need to do a better job applying pressure too (looking at you Rob Quinn).

Defensive Backs

Sensing a theme here? The entire defense struggled in the first half, and the DB’s were no different. To open the game, Trumaine Johnson got smoked by Dez Bryant allowing a 36-yard catch. Tru surrendered multiple catches throughout the day. Kayvon Webster dropped an INT (as did Tru), and had two holding penalties. Cody Davis took an awful angle on the 70-yard run by Alfred Morris, and Mo Alexander was nowhere to be found in man coverage when surrendering a 28-yard TD to Cowboys TE James Hanna.

Special Teams

After an absolutely horrendous week, these boys came to play. A 66-yard kick return by Pharoh Cooper, 7/7 on field goals for Greg Zuerlein, and a 62-yard punt for Johnny Hekker. Coach Bones had these guys firing on all cylinders.

Coaching

I’m a bit conflicted here, but I’ll give the coaching a “B”. Sean McVay certainly had the offense rolling, and John Fassel should get first dubs on everything at the Rams facility this week. As for Wade Phillips and the defense? They struggled mightily in the first half, though second-half adjustments seemed to really turn things around.