Taco Charlton gets first sack, but Rams edge Cowboys 13-10

LOS ANGELES — Rookie defensive end Taco Charlton got his first sack of the preseason, yet the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

On first-and-10 from the Rams 11-yard line, Charlton dropped quarterback Sean Mannion for a 10-yard loss with 1:44 to go in the first quarter and finished the evening with three tackles, a hurry, a tackle for loss, and a sack.

 

The Cowboys forced the Rams first-team offense featuring Jared Goff and Todd Gurley into a three-and-out to start the game. However, rookie receiver Lance Lenoir muffed a punt at the Dallas 30-yard line. Rams linebacker Josh Forrest recovered and extended Los Angeles’ drive.

Five plays later, the Rams found the end zone luckily as Anthony Hitchens forced receiver Robert Woods to fumble at the Cowboys 9-yard line. But the Cowboys weren’t aware of the loose ball and receiver Cooper Kupp scooped up the ball at the 2-yard line and rolled in for a touchdown to give Los Angeles a 7-0 lead after a Greg Zuerlein extra point.

With 6:18 in the second quarter, the Dallas defense finally recovered a loose ball as cornerback Duke Thomas recovered the Rams’ sixth fumble of the game at the Dallas 3-yard line. Linebacker Mark Nzeocha tackled running back Justin Davis and forced the fumble.

After a Cowboys punt coming out of the halftime break, Los Angeles drove 61 yards in nine plays to setup Greg Zuerlein for a 32-yard field goal to extend the Rams’ lead to 10-3 with 6:46 to play in the third quarter.

Dallas responded with rookie quarterback Cooper Rush throwing for a 25-yard touchdown to tight end Rico Gathers to tie the game 10-10 after a Sam Irwin-Hill kick with 2:27 to go in the third quarter.

The Rams added a Travis Coons field goal of 36 yards to extend their lead to 13-10 with 6:17 to go in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys had two drives to attempt a comeback, but quarterback Luke McCown could not recover a high snap with 2:38 to go in the game. On the final chance with 45 seconds left, Connor Hamlett caught a 6-yard pass on fourth-and-7 to turn the ball over and end the game.

 

SCORING SUMMARY

  • 13:29 1st Quarter — Cooper Kupp recovers a 2-yard fumble for a touchdown (Greg Zuerlein kick). 7-0 Rams
  • 10:30 2nd Quarter — Dan Bailey hits a 32-yard field goal. 7-3 Rams
  • 6:46, 3rd Quarter — Greg Zuerlein hits a 32-yard field goal. 10-3 Rams
  • 2:27 3rd Quarter — Rico Gathers catches a 25-yard touchdown from Cooper Rush (Sam Irwin-Hill kick) 10-10
  • 6:17 4th Quarter — Travis Coons kicks a 36-yard field goal. 13-10 Rams

 

POSITION BATTLES

  • Running back Darren McFadden started at running back on the first-team. Alfred Morris got into the game with 6:00 to go in the second quarter. McFadden rushed six times for 28 yards while Morris carried the ball three for five yards. McFadden caught a pass for eight yards, while Morris also caught a single pass but for nine yards.

 

  • Byron Bell played at left guard the entire time the first team was in the game. Bell flubbed as he committed a holding penalty in the second quarter that negated a would-be 11-yard gain by McFadden to the Rams 15. Instead, the penalty backed up Dallas four yards to restart a second-and-7 from the Los Angeles 27-yard line.

 

  • Gathers caught a 25-yard touchdown from quarterback Cooper Rush, yet he also had a holding call late in the third quarter. The former Baylor Bears basketball star finished the game with four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. Hamlett injured his right leg on the penultimate play of the game.

 

ROSTER CHURNING

  • Running back Rod Smith had a solitary rush for two yards and caught one pass for five yards.

 

  • Rush had an impressive evening as he went 9-for-11 for 101 yards and a touchdown. The undrafted rookie from Central Michigan demonstrated again an ability to stay in the pocket, avoid the pass rush, and find the open man downfield.

 

  • Rookie receiver Noah Brown caught three passes for 41 yards on the evening. However, he hurt his stock as he fumbled a football while on a breakaway catch, a fumble that simply slipped from his hands.

 

  • Second-year defensive end Lenny Jones had an impressive night as he had a sack, a deflection, and also good penetration in the third quarter on a De’Mard Llorens rush that ultimately dropped him for a 1-yard loss when the cavalry arrived. He also combined with linebacker Lucas Wacha to tackle Lenard Tillery for a 2-yard loss late in the fourth quarter to force the Rams to punt and give Dallas a comeback opportunity.

 

UP NEXT

The Cowboys return to Oxnard, Calif., for the day off but will return to work Monday morning with a 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time walk-through followed by a 3:30 p.m. practice.

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