The Los Angeles Rams 23-man coaching staff will review video Sunday of the team’s preseason-opening 13-10 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, a day after coach Sean McVay acknowledged “there’s going to be a lot of things that we need to clean up.”
“Offensively, we need to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” McVay said Saturday after guiding the Rams to a victory in his first game as a head coach. “We only lost one tonight, but we put it on the ground way too much.”
The Rams fumbled five times. Undrafted rookie free agent running back Justin Davis fumbled twice and receiver Robert Woods, running back Malcom Brown and center Austin Blythe once each.
Blythe’s fumble was a bad snap that cost the Rams 28 yards, pushing them back to their own 20-yard line from their 48. Davis’ second fumble — the one the Rams lost — came at Dallas’ 16-yard line, ending a drive that began at the Rams 25-yard line.
Davis “was clearly disappointed,” after the second fumble, McVay said.
“That was a big time turnover that we had down in the red zone,” McVay said. “But you can see the explosiveness that Justin does have. I just told him `Hey, let’s be mindful of taking better care of the football, we’re going to give you an opportunity and more interested now in seeing how you respond, not about what just happened.’
I thought he did a good job responding. He broke out that 30-plus yard run at the beginning of the second half. You can feel that he’s a great back with good explosion, good change of pace, he’s very productive in the receiving game as well, but we certainly have to do a better job as a running backs group as a whole taking better care of the football.
I know he’ll be one of those guys that we’ll really focus on here in this next week.”
Davis ran for a game-high 70 yards on nine carries at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the home stadium in his college career at USC.
Dallas fumbled four times, losing two.
The Rams lone touchdown followed a Cowboys fumble, which was technically a muff, defined as touching the ball prior to possessing it. Lance Lenoir muffed a punt from Johnny Hekker and Josh Forrest recovered the loose ball at Dallas’ 33-yard line.
Five plays later, second-year quarterback Jared Goff completed a five- yard pass to Woods to the Cowboys’ 4-yard-line. Woods fumbled after being hit by linebacker Anthony Hitchens, the ball rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Cooper Kupp, who the Rams drafted in the third round out of Eastern Washington.
Goff, the first player chosen in the 2016 NFL draft, played the first eight offensive plays, completing three of four passes for 34 yards.
“That first throw I would like to have back,” Goff said of a short incomplete pass on the first play of the game. “We talked about it on the sideline, I would have had a perfect night with a four-for-four, but it’s a good one to learn from. I was happy with the way we finished.”
McVay said he plans to play Goff probably “into the second quarter” of the Rams next exhibition game, Saturday at Oakland and “maybe a series into the third quarter,” into their third, Aug. 26 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Rams other points came on field goals, a 42-yarder by Greg Zuerlein with six minutes, 46 seconds to play in the third quarter and the tie-breaking 36-yarder with 6:11 left by Travis Coons, who signed on Thursday.
Dallas (1-1) tied the score with 2:27 left in the third quarter on a 25- yard touchdown pass from rookie Cooper Rush to Rico Gathers. The Cowboys other points came on Dan Bailey’s 32-yard field goal 10:20 before halftime.
Sean Mannion played quarterback for the Rams (1-0) from the first through fourth quarters, completing 18 of 25 passes for 144 yards. Dan Orlovsky, signed by the Rams July 26 to be their third-string quarterback, entered the game with 4:26 left, and completed one of two passes for three yards.
Kellen Moore started at quarterback for the Cowboys, completing eight of 17 passes for 69 yards. Rush entered the game at the start of the second half and completed nine of 11 passes for 104 yards. Luke McCown came into the game with 10:36 left and completed six of 13 passes for 31 yards.
The Rams out-gained the Cowboys, 271 yards to 248, led 12-9 in first downs and 32:50-27:10 in time of possession.
The paid attendance was 62,888. The Rams reduced the Coliseum’s capacity in an effort to enhance the gameday experience, a team official said.
There were 89,140 tickets distributed, the most for a preseason game in the United States, according to the NFL, when the Rams faced the Cowboys to open preseason play in 2016 in the first NFL game in the Coliseum since 1994.
–City News Service
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