Matthew Stafford, Rams take more hits in loss to Dallas Cowboys

INGLEWOOD  — Micah Parsons, the star edge rusher for the Dallas Cowboys, limped in and out of the field as a third-down pass rusher on Sunday against the Rams.

If he were playing against a different offensive line, perhaps Parsons wouldn’t have attempted to play on the bad groin, but the Rams’ offensive line has struggled to contain all types of pass rushers this season, not just the star players.

Parsons and his bad groin recorded multiple hits on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who once again saw constant pressure during the latest poor offensive outing from the defending Super Bowl champions. The 2022 theme of shaky pass protection combined with lackluster rushing plays and quiet outings from wide receiver Allen Robinson continued on Sunday with the Cowboys defeating the Rams 22-10 at SoFi Stadium.

The Rams were gifted a short field after a poor punt by the Cowboys gave Stafford the ball at Dallas’ 29-yard line, but the Rams left the field with nothing to show after Matt Gay missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter. The Rams had multiple opportunities to trim the 19-10 deficit, but Stafford had no answers against Parsons and the rest of the Cowboys’ stout defense. The Rams, who started the game with a 9-0 deficit, fell to 2-3 on the season, giving Rams coach Sean McVay a rare under .500 record in October. Parsons had two of the five sacks on Stafford.

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp ended the Rams’ touchdown drought after recording the longest play of his career on a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown to give his team the 10-9 advantage with 9:31 in the second quarter. That was the Rams’ first touchdown since the third quarter of Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals. But the Rams didn’t hold the lead for long after Cowboys running back Tony Pollard broke loose on a 57-yard touchdown run that featured three missed tackles by the Rams.

The Rams’ defense limited the damage during the sluggish start by holding the Cowboys to 29 yards before Pollard’s long run. Rams star defensive lineman Aaron Donald recorded two sacks from the edge position in the first half.

Stafford finally connected with speedy wide receiver Tutu Atwell downfield for a 54-yard reception in the first quarter. Stafford, who benefited from the play-action, dropped back and hit Atwell in stride with Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs in coverage, but the Rams stalled in the red zone and settled for a 29-yard field goal from Gay to trim the deficit 9-3 with 5:22 left in the first quarter.

The Rams managed to generate explosive plays and spread the ball around, but Robinson missed the action in the first half, as he entered the locker room with only one catch for 6 yards on two targets. The Rams trailed 16-10 to the Cowboys at halftime.

Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong gave the Rams’ offense a nightmare start after recording a strip sack that was returned for a touchdown and a blocked punt that led to a field goal and a 9-0 advantage for Dallas in the opening quarter.

Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence scooped Stafford’s fumble and returned it for a 19-yard touchdown with 13:27 in the first quarter. Armstrong went through the middle untouched to record the blocked punt after the Rams’ second drive.

More to come soon on this story