In a game where a win would go a long way in establishing the type of season the Dallas Cowboys would have, they came up big in a 22-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The team saw multiple players step up throughout the game to preserve the win.
Sunday’s game was all about how great the defense was for Dallas and how many issues they caused for Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and company. Outside of 54- and 75-yard completions, the rushing attack of Los Angeles was held to 38 yards and Stafford was sacked three times. Not to mention Stafford had two fumbles lost and one interception in the contest.
The Cowboys’ offense was quiet in the passing game as Cooper Rush threw for just 102 yards in the win. Dallas’ biggest strength was the rushing attack led by Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliot who ran for a combined 164 yards in the game. Their offensive line had their worst game pass blocking with three sacks allowed, but the interior offensive line was able to get a good push and open holes on inside runs.
While the special teams had a rough start with miscommunication on the first snap for long snapper Matt Overton on the extra point, the special teams unit was solid. Dorance Armstrong had one of the biggest plays of the game with a punt block that led to an east Brett Maher field goal. Maher wasn’t told to hit any long field goals, but with some NFL teams struggling kicking on Sunday, he was still able to convert all three field goals in the game.
There are several players who stood out in the game, especially on the defensive side of the ball. While this was considered a team victory, fans should recognize those who played the biggest role in the team winning on Sunday and continuing their four-game winning streak.
Cowboys Stars Of The Game
Tony Pollard, Running Back
The Cowboys needed to get a big play offensively as they have not had many of them. Tony Pollard provided a spark for the offense in the second quarter when he broke off a 57-yard touchdown run to help the Dallas Cowboys regain the lead on the Rams 16-10. Outside of a 22-yard completion from Michael Gallup, this would be one of the very few big plays and was their longest play of the game.
Pollard ended the game with only eight carries for 86 yards and a touchdown to help the Cowboys get the win. Even though the majority of his yards came from one run, he still averaged over four yards a carry if the league didn’t include the long run. He was able to pick up decent yards on each of his runs even if they were just three to five-yard runs similar to Elliot.
Even though he isn’t the starting running back and won’t get as many carries as Elliot, Pollard seemed to have a huge impact on the offensive side. It was a mostly quiet game for the offense, but Pollard was able to provide the big gainer they needed in the game. This should lead to Pollard being more involved in the future in future games.
Dorance Armstrong, Defensive End
Has there been a player who has had more of an impact in two plays than players who play a whole entire game? Dorance Armstrong was special and came up with some really good plays in the first two drives of the game.
The first play came when he sacked Stafford on the Rams’ first offensive possession, forcing a fumble that was recovered by DeMarcus Lawrence and returned for a touchdown.
On the next drive, Armstrong got a punt blocked that led to a Maher field goal to give the Cowboys a two-possession lead over the Rams.
Armstrong finished the game with two tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one quarterback hit, and one punt block. While he didn’t do much statistically after those two plays, he still played a major role in applying pressure on Stafford and being associated with the team’s five sacks. If it wasn’t for those two plays he made on the first two drives, Dallas might have lost the game. Look for Armstrong to continue his success as he will be needed for the Eagles game to get to quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Micah Parsons, Defensive End/Linebacker
The last two weeks have been quiet for Micah Parsons as he has faced many double teams in blocking. Parsons went into the game with a two-game drought in sacks and was looking to bounce back in a big way. He remained quiet in the first half and even faced a lower-body injury heading into the locker room for halftime.
Despite being hurt, Parson continued to play and came up with two big sacks in the second half to help the Cowboys win. The biggest of the two sacks came on the Rams’ final drive as he sacked Stafford and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Dallas Cowboys. Even with him limping around, he still had quite the motor and got off the line fast applying pressure on Stafford multiple times in the second half.
There will be concerns about whether Parsons will be 100 percent healthy against the Eagles, but it’s hard to overlook how he played in the second half. His impact on the field is a good portion of the reason the Cowboys won the game. This game got Parson back in the conversation for defensive player of the year in the NFL.