Dallas Cowboys 22-10 Win Over Los Angeles Rams Proves They Can Be a Juggernaut

The Dallas Cowboys proved in their win over the Los Angeles Rams that they were more than lucky. Dak Prescott's return makes them a juggernaut.

The Dallas Cowboys’ streak of wins – which now includes a 22-10 win against the Los Angeles Rams – with Cooper Rush at quarterback might invite some jokes about an upcoming quarterback controversy, but the reality is that the Cowboys have constructed a team that can weather some storms at quarterback and have done it with a stellar defense.

Demarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, and Dorance Armstrong Jr. lead a dominant Cowboys defense

Much of it has been built up front, which makes Demarcus Lawrence’s fourth-quarter exit from the game all the more concerning, especially given that pass-rush maven Micah Parsons seemed to sustain an injury he was limping through toward the end of the game.

But if healthy, Parsons, Lawrence, and Dorance Armstrong Jr. have formed the corps of a remarkable defense that receives support on the back end from players like Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown, Malik Hooker, and Anthony Barr.

They entered the game leading the league in pressure rate on opposing quarterbacks by a significant amount. At 39.6 percent of opposing dropbacks seeing duress, the Cowboys were in a league of their own already before they took on the Rams’ depleted line, one that no longer looked like the Super Bowl unit that protected Matthew Stafford and paved the way for Sony Michel and Darrell Henderson.

Dallas’ harassment of Stafford was just one element of their overall high-level play.

Diggs may show up on highlight tapes as having given up the 75-yard touchdown to Cooper Kupp, but he actually played well from snap to snap, which reflects his overall level of play this year.

While he was a highlight magnet last year, much of that came from the high-risk play that was as likely to give up a big play as turn up an interception – one reason he led the league in coverage yards given up. Now Diggs finds ways to grab the ball without becoming a liability on other plays.

MORE: When is it okay to admit Micah Parsons is the best?

That’s why Dallas entered their game against the defending champions fourth in the league in points given up per drive at just 1.39. Unlike any other defense in the top five, they don’t rely on fluky turnovers, either – they have the lowest turnover rate per drive of that group.

And that fact makes it all the more impressive that they could turn on those turnovers at will against Matthew Stafford’s Rams, adding two fumbles and a pick to their takeaway total – with one of those fumbles turning into a touchdown.

In fact, the Cowboys had only put together four plays on offense by the time they were up 9-3.

It didn’t take long for the Cowboys to improve upon their already impressive defensive metrics, improving their points per drive rate and turnover rate, as well as their red zone touchdown rate and opponent passing efficiency.

That’s why it was so easy to let Cooper Rush play a game management role, only dropping back to pass 23 times while handing it off 30 times. Those 23 dropbacks only turned into 16 pass attempts, with four scrambles and three sacks.

And only one passing play had a gain of over 20 yards. The other 87 passing yards came through manageable, low-risk throws that allowed the Cowboys to maintain possession and set up field position. On the other side of the ball, the Rams were forced to drop back 49 times.

With Dak Prescott coming back either this week or next week – owner Jerry Jones indicated after the game that Prescott will be throwing in practice leading up to Week 6’s matchup against the Eagles – there’s a real opportunity for the Cowboys to turn on the afterburners with a complete offense and defense.

If the defense is healthy heading into the Eagles game, we could have a new top team in the NFC East and NFL Standings as the Cowboys construct the juggernaut fans have been waiting for them to be since the 1990s.

Matthew Stafford and the Rams Are in Trouble

On the other side of it, there are serious concerns about the Rams. Stafford no longer has consistent accuracy or zip on the ball, and his trademark improvisational play seems to look more like it has potential for disaster instead of opportunity.

His biggest plays came on after-catch work rather than anything impressive he did through the air. They are generating the fewest first downs per passing attempt of any NFL team and can’t seem to generate any complete drive.

The Rams are 17th in offensive points per drive and 27th in defensive points per drive given up. They aren’t the team they once were and don’t have the ability to create disruption outside of the occasional Aaron Donald play.

As far as NFC threats go, the Rams are out of the conversation, and the Cowboys are in.

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