Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray loves playing the Rams. When he did two years ago, it was his first career start. During that rout, in which Dallas won, Murray rushed for 253 yards on 25 carries. This time around, he rushed 26 times for 175 yards and a touchdown, and Tony Romo 17 of 24 for 210 passing yards and three touchdowns en route to a 31-7 Cowboys victory.
What shocked Rams fans the most was the inability for the Rams to move the ball on offense. The Rams only were able to rush for 35 yards against the Cowboys, and Sam Bradford was sacked six times after not being sacked once the previous two weeks. Bradford went 29-of-48 passes for 240 passing yards and just one touchdown, but luckily did not turn the ball over during the game.
The biggest issue of all for the Rams were simple miscues. Rams receivers such as Tavon Austin and Jared Cook struggled all day, and dropped passes on critical downs. The blocking also was shoved around by the relentless Cowboys’ defensive front four the entire game, with DeMarcus Ware breaking the Cowboys’ all time sack record with 115, breaking Harvey Martin’s 30-year-old franchise record of 114.
A criticism mounting for St. Louis is they fact they did not run the no huddle offense that almost completed a comeback against Atlanta last week. The issue is, when the receivers can’t catch the ball, and when the blocking gives Bradford less than three seconds to make a throw, and the running game goes nowhere, it’s hard to implement the no-huddle. With proper execution and timing, the Rams’ boast one of the top 2-minute drill offenses in the league.
The secondary once again struggled to cover a top named receiver: this week it was Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, with Bryant scoring a touchdown with 38 yards receiving, and Witten leading the team in receptions and yards with 5 for 67 yards. The Cowboys didn’t need to pass much as the running game ran right around the Rams’ normally stout front seven. Dallas scored in every quarter, with 10 points in the first quarter, and a touchdown in each of the next three. St. Louis only scored in the 3rd quarter, but the game was well out of reach at that point as well.
The Cowboys improved to 2-1 with the win, and the Rams dropped to 1-2.
The Rams need to get it together quickly. While it’s nice they are ranked 8th in passing, being ranked in the bottom five in rushing will not get the job done. The receivers need to make the lays necessary to move the ball down field, and set up scoring drives.
This week proves even more important for the Rams, as they face off against the 49ers in St. Louis on Thursday Night Football. With Seattle looming atop the division, this game is important for both teams, as they look to keep pace with the ‘Hawks. Last year, the Rams beat the Niners once and tied in a controversial game as well. In their Thursday Night game last year, St. Louis beat Arizona in St. Louis ending their four game winning streak.
Things do look up for St. Louis, although yesterday did not show it. Mistakes were made. And to make matters more intense, they only have three days to polish those mistakes before the tilt against the 49ers at the Edward Jones Dome (Photo credit/CBS Dallas).