Jared Goff threw for 275 yards and Malcolm Brown ran for 79 yards and two short touchdowns as the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17, Sunday evening in the first event at SoFi Stadium.
Brown’s 2-yard run with five minutes, 33 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Rams a 20-14 lead. Former Ram Greg Zuerlein kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter, six plays after cornerback Chidobe Awuzie intercepted a Goff pass at the Rams’ 39 yard line.
The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs on their next possession as CeeDee Brown was stopped at the Rams’ 9-yard line after catching a pass from Dak Prescott, 1 yard short of a first down as coach Mike McCarthy opted against having Zuerlein attempt a field goal that would have tied the score.
Dallas was forced to punt after three plays on its next possession.
The Cowboys began their final possession on their own 21-yard line with 2:28 to play. Ezekiel Elliott ran for 4 yards for a first down on a fourth-and-1 from Dallas’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, Prescott appeared to complete a 47-yard pass to Michael Gallup for a first down on the Rams’ 19-yard line. However, the play was nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty against Gallup.
Prescott’s next two passes fell incomplete and Goff kneeled once to run out the final six seconds.
The Rams outgained the Cowboys, 422-380, and led 35:28-24:22 in time of possession but trailed 24-23 in first downs.
Goff completed 20 of 31 passes with one interception.
Prescott completed 25 of 39 passes for 266 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown to Elliott 12:24 before halftime, tying the score, 7-7. Elliott ran for 96 yards on 22 carries and caught three passes for 31 yards.
Elliott’s 1-yard run 17 seconds before halftime gave the Cowboys their lone lead, 14-13. Prescott completed five of five passes for 56 yards on the nine-play, 73-yard drive that took 1:43. Prescott scrambled 12 yards to the Rams’ 1-yard line two plays before Elliott’s touchdown.
The Rams drove 75 yards on seven plays in 3:23 on the game’s first possession, with Goff completing 20-, 31 and 9-yard passes to Robert Woods and Brown running 1 yard for the touchdown.
Rookie Sam Sloman kicked 35- and 31-yard field goals in the second quarter for the Rams. His 29-yard attempt in the first quarter hit the left upright.
Sunday’s game, like all others at SoFi Stadium until further notice, was played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The only occupants of the seats were cardboard cutouts purchased by fans who want their faces to be in the stands. All cutouts purchased in the “Game Faces For Good Program” were positioned in the end zone sections.
Proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Rams Foundation in support of the team’s efforts to address social injustices including poverty, education inequities, food insecurity and homelessness.
Additional cutouts will be created throughout the season to honor and recognize first responders, veterans and active-duty service men and women, cancer fighters and survivors.
The $5 billion Inglewood stadium’s opening was delayed 50 days because of the coronavirus pandemic. It had been set to open July 25 with a Taylor Swift concert, but on April 17 she announced the cancellation of all her planned concerts for the rest of the year because of the coronavirus.
The Rams and SoFi Stadium’s other NFL tenant, the Los Angeles Chargers, were scheduled to play host to two preseason games in August, including an Aug. 22 matchup between the two teams.
However, on July 27, the league sent a memo to teams declaring, “To minimize the risk of travel and ensure that the regular season begins in a timely manner, the NFL has determined that no preseason games will be played this year.”
The 3.1 million-square-foot stadium on the former site of the Hollywood Park race track is designed for 70,000 fans but can hold up to 100,000 for select events. It features more than 260 suites and a 70,000-square-foot wrap-around video board, billed as the only 4K end-to-end videoboard in sports.
SoFi Stadium will be the site of Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the College Football Playoff title game in 2023 and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.
SoFi Stadium will be the centerpiece of Hollywood Park, a near-300-acre sports and entertainment destination being developed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. It will have 5 million square feet of creative office space, a 500,000-square-foot retail district, up to 3,000 residences and a hotel.