What went wrong for the Cowboys in their game against the Rams?
The Dallas Cowboys' season has now come to an upsetting end as they fell to the Los Angeles Rams 30-22 in the Divisional Round on Saturday night. Dak Prescott and the offense did what they could to keep the game close but the defense could not stop the Rams rushing attack. We will dissect reasons as to why the Cowboys fell short against the Rams.
Defense Could Not Stop the Run
The Cowboys defense were gashed all night long against the running game of the Rams which featured Todd Gurley and C.J Anderson. This was the same defense which finished top five and held the NFL's top rushing team, Seattle Seahawks, to just 73 yards.
The Rams offense combined for 170 rushing yards at halftime while up 20-7. Usually, teams finish games with that total but to have all of those yards during halftime proved the Cowboys defense were not prepared,
I figured the Cowboys would have a similar GamePlan much like they had against the Seahawks but head coach Sean McVay had other plans for the Rams offense.
Earlier during the week, Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence told reporters and staff he hates quarterbacks and would be coming for Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
"He's a quarterback, and I don't like quarterbacks," said Lawrence. "That's how I play the game, and that's how were going to dictate the game."
In the end, the Hot Boyz did not record a sack and did not get near Goff like Lawrence described they would. Make no mistake; the Cowboys are still a very talented team. The Rams just proved they were the better team Saturday night.
Scott Linehan's predictability
Since the beginning of the 2017 season, the Cowboys have been labeled as a predictable offense since offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has taken over play-calling duties.
It was no different on Saturday night as we kept seeing the same run and pass plays called on each drive. An example of this was the 4th & 1 play at the start of the fourth quarter when running back Ezekiel Elliott was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
In that situation when you have defensive tackles, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, Linehan could have had Prescott run a QB sneak, do a run-pass option play, or even did a counter run to the outside.
Adding more designed runs and plays Prescott is comfortable with to keep the opposing defenses from crowding the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys have the talent on offense to make a championship run, but coaching and execution has to be just as effective if the teams want to get back to the ultimate game.
Linehan, in most Cowboys' fans opinion, feel he has limited Prescott's abilities and he is trying to make him into a pocket passer. In this league, you have to design plays for your quarterback so he can perform at his best and we all know Dak is mobile but not very accurate.
Scott Linehan does not do that nor does he take the risk to give his offense the advantage, instead they take a conservative approach and play not to lose. That kind of mindset will prevent the Cowboys from getting past the Divisional Round, which is what we witnessed Saturday night as they fell to the Rams.
The Cowboys are out of the playoffs and the offseason will start as soon as Monday morning as the team will now look forward to free agency then the NFL Draft.