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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Under Creative Commons License

Super Bowls have never been won or lost by the result of the first preseason game of a season, but the Los Angeles Rams left little to the imagination against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Rams Defeat Cowboys In Ugly Preseason Debut

The Rams gutted out a 13-10 win in the fourth quarter, however, the showing was not a clip for new head coach Sean McVay‘s scrapbook.

Just One Series For Sophomore Field General Jared Goff

After a lackluster rookie campaign last season, quarterback Jared Goff played just the first series of the contest. A quick three-and-out was salvaged by a Cowboys muffed punt, which gave the Rams new life deep in Dallas territory. Goff play-faked and rolled out to his left to find the rookie third round pick, wideout Cooper Kupp in the flat for a 19-yard pickup. On third down just inside the Dallas-10, Goff completed a slant to former USC product Robert Woods over the middle. He was immediately hit and fumbled. As the ball bounded into the end zone, Kupp was able to fall on it for a fortuitous touchdown.

The Rams grabbed an early 7-0 lead and apparently McVay had seen enough from his former first overall pick. Third-year backup Sean Mannion carried the water for nearly the rest of the game. Goff hung it up on 3-of-4 completions for 34 yards, though he did not get credit for the touchdown.

Sloppy Play Holds Offense Back

Five fumbles in the first half plagued the Rams offense, including a drive killing miscue by undrafted free agent running back, Justin Davis, also from Southern California, that cut short a scoring opportunity in the middle of the second quarter. Despite the turnover, Davis showed nice burst hitting the hole on his nine carries for 70 yards.

Another bright spot was rookie tight end Gerald Everett, who hauled in a couple catches for 12 yards.

“Specifically offensively we gotta do a way better job taking care of the football,” first-year head coach McVay said in his press conference. “We only lost one tonight, but we put it on the ground way too many times. Fortunately, the red zone touchdown that we had ended up in Cooper Kupp falling on the football.”

Defense Plays Well Against Cowboys Reserves

The Cowboys sat Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant, and Ezekiel Elliott, although, in spite of Elliott’s recent suspension, he was eligible to play.

With second string Kellen Moore at the helm for Dallas, the Rams defense salivated. The unit held Dallas to just 248 net yards for the game, even without star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who has been in a contract holdout with the team throughout training camp.

Late Drive Keys Victory

On the first possession of the third quarter, Davis broke a 32-yard rush to initiate the drive. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein booted a 42-yard field goal to put the Rams on top 10-3. On the ensuing Cowboys possession, Cooper Rush in relief of Moore, connected with Rico Gathers, out of Riverside Academy in Los Angeles, on a 25-yard scoring strike to knot the score up at 10-10.

In the fourth quarter, the Rams capitalized on good field position after the defense forced a quick punt. From midfield, Mannion completed 13-yard and 9-yard passes to Temarrick Hemingway and De’Mard Llorens on consecutive plays. Camp kicker Travis Coons converted a 36-yard field goal to put the Rams on top for good.

“I thought our defense flew around, I think our special team’s units continue to do a nice job,” McVay added. “We gotta be careful of avoiding the penalties both offensively and on special teams, but like I said we’ll take the win, however we can get it.”

The Rams travel to Oakland to battle the Raiders on Saturday and newly acquired wide receiver Sammy Watkins should garner some attention.

Scott Silveri

Author Scott Silveri

Covered the Raiders, A's and Giants. UCSB Gaucho. Former high school football and baseball player turned double-digit handicapper. I own the box set of "The Wire." Following in my Dad's footsteps...

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