Cow­boys’ running game, de­fence strug­gles against Rams

Times Colonist - - Sports -

LOS AN­GE­LES — The Dal­las Cow­boys ad­vanced to the di­vi­sional round of the NFL Play­offs on the strength of their running game and run de­fence. On Satur­day night, it proved to be their down­fall.

The Cow­boys al­lowed their most rush­ing yards in a post­sea­son game, while Ezekiel El­liott was held to 47 yards in a 30-22 loss to the Los An­ge­les Rams. It was Dal­las’ sixth straight loss in the di­vi­sional round, and it has not reached the NFC cham­pi­onship game since 1996.

Dal­las al­lowed only 73 yards in its wild-card round vic­tory over Seat­tle, which came in with the NFL’s top-ranked rush­ing attack. The Cow­boys didn’t have the same suc­cess against the league’s No. 3 rush­ing team, sur­ren­der­ing 275 yards. The old mark was 269 against the Rams in 1986.

It also marks the first time two running backs have had 100-yard games against the Cow­boys in the post-sea­son. Be­hind a dom­i­nant game from the of­fen­sive line, Todd Gur­ley (115) and C.J. An­der­son (123) av­er­aged 6.1 yards per carry.

Left tackle An­drew Whit­worth led the way on the of­fen­sive line, win­ning his matchups when paired up against de­fen­sive ends DeMar­cus Lawrence and Randy Gre­gory.

The Cow­boys’ running game also strug­gled. El­liott av­er­aged just 2.4 yards on 20 car­ries. It marked the first time in three post-sea­son games that the thirdyear running back was held un­der 100 yards.

Quar­ter­back Dak Prescott had a rush­ing touch­down in the fourth quar­ter, but he wasn’t used on any de­signed runs un­til the fi­nal 15 min­utes, when Dal­las was down by two scores.

The epit­ome of the Cow­boys’ ground game woes on both sides came in the fourth quar­ter.

Dal­las was down 23-15 and on the Rams 35 when El­liott was stopped for no gain on fourt­hand-one. Los An­ge­les then went on a 12-play, 65-yard touch­down drive where all but two plays were runs.

The drive was capped off by a one-yard score by An­der­son.

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