Rams Handle Cowboys, 30-22, Reach First NFC Championship Game since 2002
The Los Angeles Rams dominated the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night to advance to the NFC Championship Game next weekend. The score, 30-22, indicates a closer game because the Dallas defense forced LA into three field goals.
Every statistical category (except passing yards) would tell you the Rams were in control almost the entire game. LA outgained Dallas 459-308 in total yards. The Rams held the ball for over 36 minutes. LA had 30 first downs to just 19 for Dallas.
Todd Gurley II and C.J. Anderson ran all over the Cowboys’ defense. Gurley II finished with 115 yards and one rushing touchdown. Anderson also eclipsed the century mark with 123 yards and two running scores. The two became the first Ram teammates to rush for at least 100 yards in a postseason game. The last time two running backs each had 100-plus yards rushing in the NFL playoffs was Terrell Davis and Derek Loville with the Denver Broncos in 1997.
In contrast, for the Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott only had 47 yards rushing on 20 attempts.
Anderson pushed the Rams out of Dallas’ reach in the middle of the fourth quarter on fourth and goal to go up 30-15.
The quarterbacks were serviceable throughout the game. For the Rams, Jared Goff completed 15-of-28 passes for 186 yards with no touchdown throws. Dallas QB Dak Prescott finished 20-of-32 for 266 yards.
Even without high passing numbers, Goff was key late in the game.
The situation included Dallas with two timeouts left with the Rams facing third down and seven. If LA threw an incompletion, the clock would stop and Dallas would have two timeouts with a chance to tie it up. If LA ran, but didn’t get the first down, Dallas could take a timeout and still have one to use on offense. Instead, Goff did something no one expected and ran for the first down on a bootleg to the right.
The Rams got one more first down from Anderson, and a couple Goff kneel downs ended the game for LA.
Even in the first half, everything was coming up Los Angeles. The Rams earned 20 first downs. Last week, Dallas only gave up 11 first downs in the entire game against Seattle.
Fortunately for the Cowboys they were only down 20-7 at the end of the half thanks to the Dallas defense holding LA to field goals on the Rams first two possessions.
In the opening 30 minutes, Gurley and Anderson each had a rushing touchdown to their credit. Each score fit the running style for the respective back.
Gurley had a longer, faster run from 35 yards out.
While Anderson’s came on a pounding run up the middle.
With the win, the Rams will take on the winner of tomorrow’s New Orleans-Philadelphia game in the NFC Championship Game next weekend.