There are two plays from the Dallas Cowboys loss to the Los Angeles Rams Sunday night that you’re going to see over and over again. Depending on the records of the Cowboys and Rams at the end of the season, you might be seeing those two plays for a while longer, too.
But there were actually five major plays that changed the game. Four major mistakes by the Cowboys (and one by the officials) turned the game from a very winnable affair into a losing effort.
The Cowboys were supposed to be entering a new era with this game. Mike McCarthy took over as the Cowboys’ head coach, ending the mediocre and seemingly never-ending reign of Jason Garrett. However, the result at the end of the game was the same as it was far too-often during the Garrett era.
Five plays that cost the Cowboys in Week 1 loss
5. Greg Zuerlein’s missed field goal
Last season, the Cowboys experienced their share of kicking problems with Brett Maher. He had the curious ability to make deep kicks, but missed six field-goal attempts between 30-49 yards. So, they brought in Kai Forbath, who went 10-for-10 last season.
But in the offseason, Dallas signed former Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein. He ultimately beat Forbath in an off-season competiton. His first kick for the Cowboys was a challenging 53-yard attempt and he missed it. However, he didn’t look great on the other field goal that he converted, barely sneaking it inside the upright. This could develop into another major headache for the Cowboys this season. They also lost the game by those three points.
3. Amari Cooper’s third-down drop
Jalen Ramsey #RamsHouse
: #DALvsLAR on NBC
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/ynDmpGSOcL pic.twitter.com/Kb3fzQWXJg
— NFL (@NFL) September 14, 2020
This was a great play call by Rams’ defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and it was incredible execution by Jalen Ramsey. That said, Cooper is a No. 1 receiver and signed a huge new contract with the Cowboys this offseason. He has to make this catch in that situation. Ramsey lays a huge hit on him right as he’s securing the ball. But it’s a play that you expect your top receiver to make.
This forced the Cowboys to punt from deep in their own territory. While the Rams didn’t go on to score, it did allow them to use a lot of the clock and pin the Cowboys deep before Dak and Co. tried to march all the way down the field with only one timeout and not much time on the clock.
3. The third-and-6 run
The top play in this list is an obvious choice, but the play before that was just as problematic. Dallas ran the ball up the middle with Ezekiel Elliott on third-and-6, hoping to take advantage of Los Angeles’ lack of numbers in the box.
However, it was also obvious that Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore were planning on going for it on fourth …read more