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Defense Shows Resilience in Win over Cowboys

As the Rams entered the locker room at halftime on Sunday, trailing 24-16, it seemed as though the Cowboys were primed for their fourth consecutive victory over the Rams' franchise. The Dallas offense surged through the first half, scoring on all four of its possessions.

But all of that changed in the second half.

The Rams' defense made the most of its last 30 minutes, holding the Cowboys to just six points as Los Angeles came from behind to take the contest, 35-30.

"To the defense's credit, they answered the bell in the second half and there was a handful of plays that ended up being the difference in us winning and losing that football game," head coach Sean McVay said. "Their ability to step up was crucial." 

Check out the best photos from Week 4's win against the Dallas Cowboys.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was given a game ball for putting the team in a position to win in his triumphant return to Dallas. Sunday's game against the Cowboys marked Phillips' first time coaching at AT&T Stadium since he was let go as Dallas' head coach in 2010.

"It's like most great coaches that I've been around, there's a way of correcting things in a manner that guys understand it's for the right reasons," McVay said of Phillips' in-game adjustments. "Then there's a calm demeanor about it, so that guys don't feel stressed when you're doing it."

While the defense recorded one of its best performances in the second half, the first two quarters of Sunday's contest did not look as promising. 

Quarterback Dak Prescott was able to throw for 155 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, while wide receiver Dez Bryant caught two passes for 50 yards.

The defense didn't fare much better on the ground. Standout running back Ezekiel Elliott recorded 56 yards rushing and backup running back Alfred Morris broke off a 70-yard run to set up a Cowboys' touchdown.

"We couldn't get off the field," cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. "We couldn't get [a] three-and-out to save our lives."

But the Rams' defense turned it around in the second half, showcasing its ability to adjust to a high-powered offense.

"We came in after the first half," Johnson continued, "fixed the mistakes, and we went out there and played our ball."

The Rams defense made four consecutive stops to begin the second half, forcing Dallas to punt on each of its first three drives. Then on 3rd-and-9 from the Dallas 22, nose tackle Michael Brockers forced an errant pass that was picked off by a diving linebacker Mark Barron. The offense converted the takeaway into a field goal, extending their lead 32-24.

"Anytime that you're able to win the turnover battle 2-0," McVay said, "you're going to give yourself a chance to win games in this league just when you look at the history of the league and how that affects wins and losses."

Though the Cowboys would score again on a 28-yard reception to the corner of the endzone by tight end James Hanna, they was denied a key two-point conversion attempt to tie the game.

And with 36 seconds left, the defense ended Dallas's last chance to win the contest. On fourth down, safety John Johnson made a key tackle to stop an Elliott reception one yard short of the sticks for a turnover on downs.

"It's big, it really is," Trumaine Johnson said of the win. "To come into Dallas, you know too many teams don't come down here and win. 3-1 is big, we want to celebrate, but at the same time I told my guys, be humble about it."

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