Rams-Cowboys takeaways: Defending champs face some ‘challenging times’

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is sacked by Dallas defensive end Dorance Armstrong, one of five times the Cowboys tackled Stafford for a loss Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)
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The Rams were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, 22-10, Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Here’s what we learned from the Rams’ second consecutive loss:

McVay spins team’s plight as opportunity

After the defeat, coach Sean McVay said that he was “excited about the opportunity to grind through some challenging times.”



There are, of course, lessons to be learned and confidence to be gained from overcoming adversity.

But this is not the way McVay envisioned his team’s performance heading into its final game before an open date.

Rams struggle against elite defenses

See if you can identify a pattern:

The Buffalo Bills held the Rams to 10 points and sacked Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford seven times.

The San Francisco 49ers did not surrender a touchdown against the Rams and sacked Stafford seven times.

The Cowboys gave up one touchdown and a field goal and sacked Stafford five times.

The Cowboys declare they have the best defense in the NFL, and they certainly made believers out of the Rams, who continue their offensive funk.

Oct. 9, 2022

Stafford continues to commit turnovers

When a quarterback is absorbing a nonstop pounding, it’s no doubt difficult to keep a grip on the ball.


And for the second game in a row, Matthew Stafford was under constant duress.

Stafford lost a fumble on the first series, and the Cowboys returned it for a touchdown. A fourth-quarter pass was intercepted in the end zone. He also lost a fumble in the final minutes.

No matter how many times McVay says he loves Stafford, the Rams simply cannot expect to defeat good teams if their quarterback continues to give up the ball.

Offensive line remains an issue

The Carolina Panthers, the Rams’ next opponent, rank near the bottom of the NFL in sacks.

That will come as welcome news to a Rams line that has given up 12 sacks in the last two games.

The Rams had been buoyed by David Edwards’ return from a concussion that sidelined him against the San Francisco 49ers. But Edwards left the game against the Cowboys and was being examined for another concussion.

The Rams, now 2-3 after a home loss to Dallas, have never looked worse under coach Sean McVay, who admits everything is “not good enough.”

Oct. 9, 2022

Running game is running out of excuses

Against a Cowboys defense that was giving up 137.5 yards rushing per game, the Rams rushed for a whopping 38 yards in 15 carries.


McVay preaches that he strives for balance in his play-calling, but he has yet to achieve it consistently this season.

The line is a big part of the problem. However, running backs Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are not helping.

Atwell can make a big play

Tutu Atwell, the Rams’ second-round draft pick in 2021, finally got his first NFL catch when he beat the Cowboys’ deep and caught a 54-yard pass from Stafford.

If the 5-foot-9, 165-pound Atwell continues to gain confidence — and run precise routes — he could give the Rams a viable deep threat.

Cooper Kupp caught seven passes on 10 targets for 125 yards, 75 on a catch-and-run touchdown. Tyler Higbee caught seven passes on 10 targets for 46 yards.

Ben Skowronek had six catches, Henderson four, and Allen Robinson caught three passes on five targets.


Matthew Stafford and the Rams struggle to find rhythm on offense in a 22-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that threatens to derail their season.

Oct. 9, 2022

Defense is in a turnover slump

For the third consecutive game, the Rams failed to force a turnover.

That is not great for any team, especially one with a struggling offense.

The defense, for the second game in a row, also gave up a big play — a 57-yard touchdown run by running back Tony Pollard that erased the Rams’ brief 10-9 lead.

Special teams are struggling again

On the Rams’ second series, the Cowboys blocked a punt by Riley Dixon and converted the turnover into a field goal.

The Atlanta Falcons also blocked a Rams punt in Week 2.

On the positive side, the Rams showed some creativity when Dixon completed a second-quarter pass to Jake Gervase. But the Rams failed to capitalize.

Matt Gay’s 29-yard field goal in the first quarter made him eight for eight this season. But Gay missed a 51-yard attempt early in the fourth quarter.