Rams quarterback Jared Goff may have put it best postgame when he said, "You don't design it to go that way, but sometimes the ball bounces your way and you take advantage of it."
Los Angeles' first-team offense played only eight snaps, but made the most of them, scoring a touchdown on a heads-up fumble recovery by rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp in the 13-10 victory.
"Actually on my route I was just running, and my route brought me right back into being able to see what happened," Kupp said. "The backer just got a good shot on Rob — a tough play — and the ball popped up. I don't know, it seemed like I was the only one going for it for a second, so as I was sliding in I thought maybe that they were going to call it incomplete or something. But, you know, just being in the right place at the right time."
"When you dream of your first NFL touchdown that's not exactly how you dream it up, but I'll take it," Kupp added.
L.A. began the game with the ball, but was going to give it up after just three plays. A negative run on second down stalled the opening drive. But Johnny Hekker booted a 44-yard punt Dallas returner Lance Lenoir couldn't handle, giving the home team new life as linebacker Josh Forrest recovered the fumble at the Dallas 33.
From there, Goff connected on a key pass to Kupp on 2nd-and-9 when he rolled to his left and found the rookie wide open for a 19-yard gain. Kupp would make another reception later in the first half to finish with 35 yards receiving.
Entering the season as a starter for the first time, Goff finished his night 3-of-4 passing for 34 yards. He and McVay both sounded as if they got the work they wanted from the first-team offense on Saturday night.
"That first throw I would've liked to have back. We talked about it on the sideline — I would've had a perfect night with 4-for-4," Goff said. "Good one to learn from, and I was happy with the way we finished."
"I think the one thing that you feel good about with him is he comes to you during the game and says, 'I wish I had that first play back' where you're able to let Robert see that throw and get a completion right off the bat," McVay said. "But those are the kinds of expectations that we have for him, and we expect him to have that for himself — and he does. We know that there's always going to be things that we can do a little bit better — myself included — and I think it provides a great opportunity for us to learn and move forward to the Raiders next week."
With this being Goff's first time in a game situation with McVay as his play caller, the quarterback said communication between coach and player was more than satisfactory.
"It was great, it was real good," Goff said. "I was talking to Dan [Orlovsky] and Sean [Mannion] about it all night — just the way he verbalizes things, the way he's able to communicate with us, give us little tips in the play call and stuff to remember, reminders. It's just so helpful."
Over the next couple of weeks, McVay said the first-team offense will play more snaps in order to get ready for the regular season. With this being the first of four preseason games, it's standard across the league for the starters to play only a handful of snaps, essentially to get their feet wet after being away from competition for eight months.
"Typically what our plan would be is ideally six to 10 or a scoring drive, which we were able to do tonight," McVay said. "And then next week, we'll probably play through into maybe a series into the second quarter. And then that third preseason game will offer us an opportunity as a first-team offense to really play a first half and then maybe a series coming out in the third. And those will be things that we're going to kind of monitor and discuss as a coaching staff. But the goal is to get [Goff] more work through those first three weeks as we progress."