Sunday morning I took a look at some matchups to watch for the Rams - Cowboys tilt. Looking back at these was....interesting. The Rams arguably went 1-2 in these matchups yet they still won the game on the back of Todd Gurley and the Rams offense.
Let’s take a peek.
Rob Havenstein vs Demarcus Lawrence
I thought big Rob did an admirable job against the NFL sacks leader. Yes, Lawrence got credited with a sack, but I felt it was a bit cheap as all Lawrence did was knock the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands. Yes, it was a sack by definition, but not by connotation.
Outside of that play, Lawrence was only in the backfield two other times. Havenstein didn’t shut Lawrence down by any stretch of the imagination, but he held his own against a beast of a pass rusher. Given the expectations heading into this game, I’d say that’s a win for Havenstein.
Rams ILBs vs Cowboys Run Game
I have no idea why Alec Ogletree hesitated. Ezekiel Elliot should have been pushed out of bounds at the 9 yard line. Instead, ‘Tree and Mark Barron both miss the tackle and Zeke ends up in the end zone.
This play is a picture-perfect representation of the struggles the Rams defense has had in 2017 - specifically Ogletree and Barron. Both are missing assignments, missing tackles, and playing poorly.
Barron made some amends with an impressive interception later in the game, but this matchup clearly goes to the Cowboys.
Dez Bryant vs Trumaine Johnson
Not even an illegal contact penalty could help Tru break up the first pass of the game. Dez ended the game with 5 catches for 98 yards but was held out of the end zone.
The only positive I’m seeing for Tru here is that Dez was target on 13 of Dak Prescott’s 35 passes. That’s nearly 40% of the pass plays that were headed his way. But it’s a double edged sword, because you’d never see Richard Sherman or Patrick Peterson targeted that much.
Tru is exposed right now and opposing offenses are exploiting the NFLs highest paid CB.