Greg Zuerlein made seven field goals in the Los Angeles Rams’ 35-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. His longest field goal was from 49 yards. Mark Hoffer mhoffer@star-telegram.com
Greg Zuerlein made seven field goals in the Los Angeles Rams’ 35-30 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. His longest field goal was from 49 yards. Mark Hoffer mhoffer@star-telegram.com

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys are a middling 2-2 after failing grades in loss to Rams

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.

chill@star-telegram.com

October 02, 2017 12:12 PM

UPDATED October 02, 2017 04:54 PM

The Dallas Cowboys’ inability to sustain drives, even though their rush offense was solid, and a sluggish third quarter was too much to overcome in a 35-30 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

The offense produced 440 total net yards, which was the highest of the 2017 season, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect the statistics.

Playing without All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee hurt the defense, but the falloff shouldn’t have been this great. The Rams rallied from a double-digit deficit to win the game.

Next up is the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. Kickoff is 3:25 p.m.

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RUSH OFFENSE: B The Cowboys rushed 27 times for 189 yards. That includes a 70-yard run from Alfred Morris and 21 carries for 85 yards for Ezekiel Elliott. But if you think the Cowboys ran effectively enough to win the game then you missed the third quarter when they had three consecutive three-and-out possessions. It’s still mind-boggling that Ryan Switzer got a carry from the backfield.

PASS OFFENSE: D This is on Dak Prescott and his season-long accuracy issues. He passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns. But so much more was out there for the taking. His inability to consistently connect with Dez Bryant is a bigger problem because he is no longer connecting with Cole Beasley, who led the team in receptions last year.

RUSH DEFENSE: F The Rams rushed 31 times for 168 yards. Todd Gurley rushed 23 times for 121 yards as the Cowboys gave up their second 100-yard rusher of the season after giving up none in 16 games last year. The defense missed Lee, who sat out with a hamstring injury. Jaylon Smith led the Cowboys with 10 tackles, but they had minimal impact.

PASS DEFENSE: F Jared Goff completed 21 of 36 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He passed for 172 yards in the second half as he exploited the linebackers with passes to Gurley. The Cowboys couldn’t get off the field and didn’t make plays. Anthony Brown dropped an interception. A sack and forced fumble by DeMarcus Lawrence went for naught as the Cowboys didn’t get on the ball. It was the only sack of the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F Switzer made two bad decisions to return kickoffs out of the end zone, costing the Cowboys yardage and field position. He compounded his decisions with a fumbled punt that gave the Rams momentum in the second quarter. The Cowboys also gave up a 66-yard kickoff return, giving the Rams more momentum and leading to points after a Cowboys score.

COACHING: F The Cowboys made no halftime adjustments, unlike the Rams, who found a way to move the ball on offense and stone Prescott and Elliott in the third quarter. Also coaching must be blamed for Switzer making poor decisions on kickoff returns and being too cavalier on punt returns, leading to a turnover. This was a game the Cowboys had to have after leading 17-6 and 24-13 early in the second quarter only to see the Rams blow by with little resistance until it was too late.

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr