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Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys: Game notes

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Now that Sosa has had a chance to shred through the all-22, here are his observations.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As you all know by now, the Los Angeles Rams put together a stinker of a performance on the road against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15, ultimately diminishing their hopes at a playoff spot to a prayer and a miracle. I’ve had a chance to rip through the all-22, and I’ve come away with some observations — and clips — that I’d like to share, most of which you can already assume if you watched the game.

Let’s get into it:

  • The pass rush was non-existent. They were regularly stumped by the incredible offensive line of the Cowboys. Now, that may have been expected as they field one of the strongest OL’s in football, but the Rams really did nothing across the defensive line. DT Aaron Donald had one of the quieter games of his career and edge rushers Dante Fowler Jr. and Clay Matthews missed the few layups (easy sacks/hits) they were afforded throughout
  • QB Jared Goff struggled badly in this contest. Now, you probably knew that just looking at his stat line or the broadcast angle, but it was truly a bad performance. Starting the game out on offense, Goff immediately missed two or three passes on the first drive. It didn’t get better throughout, and though we don’t know how much the injury he sustained affected him, it very well could have played a part in the latter parts of the game:

Right out of the gate Goff misses WR Cooper Kupp on a deep over:

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This was just a terrible decision by Goff going over the middle of the field to WR Robert Woods. Goff had a better chance to complete it to two Cowboys linebackers than his own option. The red circles in the image are all the open receivers Goff had prior to throwing the interception:

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On this rep, TE Tyler Higbee runs a great seam route and uses a head-fake to get the defender to hesitate. It creates a nice window for Goff to fit the ball in between the linebacker and safety, but he simply throws it into the dirt:

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This rep was one of the most egregious misses of the day for Goff. The play design was a beautiful one as Head Coach Sean McVay drew up a fake WR screen which turned into an RB vertical. RB Todd Gurley was wide open for a walk-in touchdown but Goff’s awful throw made Gurley slow up, ultimately fall, and not bring the reception down. The image shows just how much green grass was ahead of Gurley prior to the drop:

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  • McVay scrapped his 12-personnel offense that worked like a charm in Week 14 against the Seattle Seahawks in favor of his default 11-personnel offense, and it ultimately turned out to be a terrible decision. The offense ran a lot of max protection and often left a tight end, wide receiver, and/or running back in pass pro to chip prior to releasing into their routes:

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  • The offensive line was putrid. Every other rep someone on the offensive line was getting dominated in pass pro. There was literally not a sliver of space in the running game either. The run blocking was disturbingly bad:

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  • If the OL wasn’t the worst part of the game, the run defense was. They couldn’t stop a nose bleed. The Cowboys did whatever they pleased on the ground with both RB Ezekiel Elliott and backup RB Tony Pollard ripping off big chunks one after the next
  • Matthews showed his age on Sunday. He was routinely outran on the edge
  • Rookie S Taylor Rapp did not have a good game. Not only was he washed out of the run often, but he bumped into two separate DB’s, one of which resulted in a 59-yard touchdown and the other a 23-yard gain
  • The defensive line needs to work on finishing their sacks as they look like they reverted to their early season yips of nearly getting QB’s down, but letting them escape last second
  • WR Brandin Cooks hasn’t looked right ever since he suffered his last concussion. On this rep below, he’s wide open and can’t bring down the catch. To be fair to Cooks, it was another awful pass from Goff on the day:

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  • McVay had zero faith in his offensive line and it showed with his play calling. You can’t blame him, but at some point you need to change it up because he tried the same thing over and over and it resulted in a terrible day on offense
  • The defense needs to spend every day of this week on tackling drills. They were absolutely putrid at wrapping up ball carriers, routinely letting them churn out major yardage due to broken tackles. One of the only good tackles on the day was this rep from backup CB Darious Williams:

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That’s all I have for this week folks. Feel free to ask away if anyone needs clarification on any rep that I may or may not have posted.