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5 Takeaways From the Rams' Preseason-Opening Win

Posted Aug 12, 2017

The Rams begin their preseason with a win, defeating the Cowboys 13-10 at the Coliseum.


The Rams began their preseason with a win, defeating the Cowboys 13-10 at the Coliseum on Saturday night. But because it’s preseason, there’s plenty more involved than the final result. With that in mind, here are five takeaways from Los Angeles’ first exhibition matchup under head coach Sean McVay.

1) Capitalizing on the lucky bounces

The Rams started the game on offense and scored a touchdown within their first 10 plays — but it probably wasn’t the way they drew it up.

L.A. linebacker Josh Forrest recovered a muffed punt by Dallas wideout Lance Lenoir, giving the home team good field position at the visitors’ 33. Then a few plays later, wide receiver Robert Woods caught a slant in the red zone but fumbled the ball forward. Fortunately rookie wideout Cooper Kupp was there to recover the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Rams a 7-0 lead.

“I think we have to have a better start,” Woods said at halftime. “We put the ball on the ground one time, we had a tackle for loss in the run game. But it was our first drive, first jitters out there and we just have to get ready for next week.”

2) Goff has an efficient start

Second-year quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams’ first-team offense played only the opening possession. But in that time, Goff completed three of his four passes for 34 yards, including a 19-yard pass to Kupp.

On 2nd-and-9 from Dallas’ 32, Goff faked a handoff to running back Todd Gurley then rolled to his left. Kupp was wide open on the left side on an apparent crossing route, and No. 16 hit him for a 19-yard gain.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, making his first appearance for the Rams, said at halftime he felt Goff looked, “Calm and poised and [made] good decisions.

“We unfortunately gave him a negative run there, in that first set of three, and that kind of puts you behind the eight ball. But you know what, we get a ball — a turnover — and go out and capitalize on it. And those are huge in football games.”

3) Defense efficient, too

Los Angeles began the game by forcing three consecutive three-and-outs from Dallas’ offense. Dallas rested many of its offensive stars — including quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wide receiver Dez Bryant — but the Rams’ starters still did their jobs, playing only six snaps for the first two possessions. Los Angeles’ second unit continued the trend by forcing a three-and-out on the third.

At halftime, outside linebacker Connor Barwin attributed much of the defense’s success to coordinator Wade Phillips’ system.

“I know from being with him in the past, if you’ve got 11 guys doing their job with good technique and good effort, you’re going to play well on defense,” Barwin said.

4) Justin Davis breaks out

Rams undrafted free agent running back Justin Davis has done well in practice, but really displayed his running ability in the confines of the L.A. Coliseum on Saturday night. The USC product recorded nine carries for 70 yards during the contest, including a long of 32 yards in the third quarter.

5) Ball security an issue

The Rams fumbled five times in the first half, showing a few issues with ball security.

Aside from the Woods fumble that resulted in a touchdown, running back Malcom Brown fumbled once, Davis fumbled twice, and center Austin Blythe was credited for a fumble when he snapped a ball over quarterback Sean Mannion’s head.

There was another near fumble in the second half when tight end Temarrick Hemingway lost the handle on a third-down pass. Initially ruled a completion and fumble

Look for ball security to be a topic of conversation over the course of this week as the Rams prepare to face the Raiders in Oakland.