Cowboys disrupt Rams’ rushing rhythm by shutting down Todd Gurley

The Rams' Todd Gurley did not find much running room against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Rams’ Todd Gurley did not find much running room against the Dallas Cowboys. He ran 11 times for 20 yards.
(Michael Ainsworth / Associated Press)

The Dallas Cowboys were not going to let Todd Gurley do it again.

Two years ago at AT&T Stadium, Gurley scored on an electrifying catch-and-run play that helped the Rams beat the Cowboys. In an NFC divisional-round playoff victory over the Cowboys last season, Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.

On Sunday, Gurley caught a short touchdown pass, but rushed for only 20 yards and a late touchdown in 11 carries in the Rams’ 44-21 defeat.

“They came in and shut us down pretty quick,” Gurley said.

Coach Sean McVay had put the ball in Gurley’s hands with greater frequency in three of the Rams’ previous four games. The strategy paid off with performances by the offense that gave players, coaches and fans optimism about the team’s playoff chances.


The Cowboys had lost three games in a row, but shut down Gurley and limited him to 1.8 yards per carry.

“We weren’t able to get into any sort of rhythm and get things going in the run game,” McVay said.

Gurley has rushed for 744 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He has 29 receptions, two for touchdowns.

The Dallas Cowboys’ rout of the Rams could mean they’re peaking at the right time, and L.A.’s playoff hopes are all but sunk after a 44-21 loss.

Dec. 15, 2019

The Rams play the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium. Gurley sat out a 20-7 loss to the 49ers on Oct. 13 because of a thigh injury. The loss started a three-game losing streak.

“I’m excited,” Gurley said. “Didn’t get a chance to play against those guys last time. Saturday night game.

“We got to try and get right.”

Tyler Higbee sets team record

Tyler Higbee caught a career-best 12 passes for 111 yards to become the first tight end in Rams history to have three consecutive games with 100 yards receiving.


Higbee caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in a 34-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He caught seven passes for 116 yards in a 28-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Higbee has 52 catches for 546 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Receiver Cooper Kupp caught six passes for 41 yards and a touchdown and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in a season for the first time.

“Right now it doesn’t really mean much,” Kupp said.

The Rams need a lot of help to make the playoffs following a 44-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that Aaron Donald described as embarrassing.

Dec. 15, 2019

Kupp, a third-round draft pick in 2017, has 83 receptions for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns.

In 2018, receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods each amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving. Kupp might have done the same had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Troy Hill is injured

Cornerback Troy Hill suffered a hand injury during the first quarter and did not return. Darious Williams played in Hill’s spot.

Hill moved into the starting lineup after Aqib Talib suffered a rib injury during an Oct. 3 loss against the Seahawks. Talib was later traded to the Miami Dolphins.

Hill had two interceptions in the last four games. Williams made five tackles Sunday.

Tavon Austin scores

In April 2018, the Rams traded receiver Tavon Austin to the Cowboys for a sixth-round draft pick.


Austin, the No. 8 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, scored Sunday on a 59-yard pass from Dak Prescott in the second quarter. The play started a run of 30 consecutive points by the Cowboys.

Prescott kept the play alive by using his strength and mobility to elude edge rusher Dante Fowler. As Austin crossed the field from right to left, Williams collided with safety Taylor Rapp, enabling Austin to break free. Prescott passed him the ball and Austin turned upfield to the end zone.

“Tavon crossed the field, two guys ran at each other and he did the rest,” Prescott said.


The last time the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein played in AT&T Stadium, he kicked seven field goals in a 35-30 victory. On Sunday, he did not attempt a field goal. ... Former Rams end Robert Quinn had one quarterback hit for the Cowboys.

A look at the numbers behind the Rams’ 44-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.

Dec. 15, 2019