The Los Angeles Rams suffered a 14-10 loss against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. A game full of sloppy mishaps, but some players showcased their skills. Here’s what we learned from the second preseason game:
Penalties, penalties and more penalties
Penalties continue to be an issue for the Rams. They racked up 18 total penalties, many of which were inexcusable. The biggest infraction came from a hit on Dallas quarterback Cooper Rush. Rush attempted to slide to avoid contact during the third quarter, but Rams rookie linebacker Troy Reeder nailed him with his helmet and shoulder pad. The end result was Rush’s head hitting the ground and Reeder was immediately ejected.
Unnecessary holding, pass interference, roughing the passer and false starts plagued the Rams the entire game. It continuously derailed drives and slowed momentum. Last week the Rams also piled up the flags against the Oakland Raiders with 11 total penalties. The Rams will need to fix this problem before it carries into the regular season.
Defense shows toughness
Several pass rushers and defensive backs made names for themselves, hoping to solidify a place on the roster. Linebackers Obo Okoronkwo, Dakota Allen, Natrez Patrick, Bryce Hager and Landis Durham all had strong showings. Allen led with eight tackles (five solo) including one for a loss. Patrick and Hager both split a sack on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the first quarter. Durham had three tackles and one sack on quarterback Cooper Rush. Okoronkwo had one solo tackle, a quarterback hit and one pass deflection.
Rookie defensive linemen Marquise Copeland and Greg Gaines each had one tackle for a loss. Copeland also had a sack and had the strongest showing of all the defensive linemen.
The defensive back corps also had standouts. Cornerback Dont’e Deayon had one interception and a tackle for a loss. Cornerback Darious Williams had two tackles and two passes deflected. Safeties Taylor Rapp and Steven Parker each had three tackles. Both Parker and cornerback Ramon Richards had one pass deflection.
The defense overall, other than making several penalties, seems to be in the right direction. With slated starting linebacker Micah Kiser’s pectoral injury and surgery coming up, the linebacking corps looks to have strong reserves. The defensive line coaches are still testing who will start at nose tackle, but the rookies are giving a great effort, regardless.
Offense looked stronger than in preseason opener
Blake Bortles started again under center for the Rams in the first quarter. He completed seven of 11 passes for 62 yards and one touchdown to JoJo Natson. Receiver Mike Thomas helped set the scoring play with two previous receptions from Bortles for a total of 23 yards. Bortles also completed a 26-yard wheel route pass to rookie running back Darrell Henderson. It is Henderson’s longest reception so far.
Quarterback Brandon Allen took over in the second quarter and had a strong performance of 14 completions on 21 attempts for 115 yards. He had one interception in the third quarter on a pass intended for rookie tight end Kendall Blanton. During the play, Dallas rookie linebacker Justin Phillips reached for the ball at the same time, stripping it from Blanton’s hands. Allen looked poised and unfazed when challenged. He even saved a botched snap by center Jamil Demby. Scrambling quickly, he hit receiver Nsimba Webster for a 16-yard first down pass.
Receivers Jalen Greene, Webster, Johnathan Lloyd and Thomas all contributed in the receiving game (along with Henderson). Greene had the best showing with four receptions for 43 yards. The offense also shared in multiple penalties, but the Rams showed that they are stacked with strong rookie standouts.