Dallas, defense show Rams they have more stars than on helmets

DeMarcus Lawrence, Pro Bowl defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, basked in celebrity culture at SoFi Stadium for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

But not in the way you might think.

“It was lit,” Lawrence said. “Seeing all the stars coming out today to see that real Stars on display.”

Yes, these Cowboys aren’t lacking in confidence, and they shouldn’t be either after a dominant win over the Rams that was more one-sided than the 22-10 record might suggest.

Dallas sacked Matthew Stafford five times, took the ball from him twice, intercepted one of his passes at the Cowboys’ one-yard line and generally made a bad day for the Rams quarterback a miserable one.

“We’re the best…defense in the league,” Lawrence said. “Up close, period.”

At the end of the game, there were two types of jerseys on the field: Cowboys white and Cowboys blue. Yes, there were plenty of disheartened Rams fans interspersed, but the visiting fans were boisterous enough to rock the press box when they erupted near the goal line on Malik Hooker’s interception.

All that and the 4-1 Cowboys didn’t even have their best player, linebacker Micah Parsons, in full swing. He suffered a groin injury in the first half and was used sparingly in the second, mostly as a pass rusher in third.

“There were certain things I didn’t want to push forward,” he said. “I stopped moving that much.”

Regardless, Parsons collected two sacks, which was particularly important to him since Aaron Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was watching from the Rams’ sideline.

Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa celebrates his dismissal of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa celebrates his dismissal of Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford in the fourth quarter.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

“If you want to be the best rusher, there’s only one best rusher in the league,” Parsons said. “So for me it’s a competition between him and me no matter what, even with the respect. I want to be the potentially best player in this league. Since Aaron is about to take the cake, I just hit. I climb.”

It was the fourth straight win for the Cowboys, who have yet to give up more than 19 points in a game. And they’ve done so with previously little-known Cooper Rush as quarterback in place of injured Dak Prescott, who is recovering from a broken thumb.

“Right before the game, Dak Prescott said to me, ‘Coach, you shouldn’t have worried so much because I could have told you Rush is a hell of a quarterback,'” said Jerry Jones, who owns the Cowboys. but happily answers “Coach” – and who wouldn’t consider the way they play?

Rush is 5-0 as a starter, four of them this season, making him the fifth undrafted quarterback to win each of his first five career starts, and joining Hall of Famer Kurt Warner along with the more obscure Kyle Allen, Dieter Brock and Mike Tomczak connects .

Talk of a burgeoning quarterback controversy in Dallas is mostly shady speculation, but as Jones noted, “Dak’s the #1 quarterback. Dak’s our guy. But isn’t it great that someone came in and played well enough for us to ask that question?”

When it came to the NFL’s return to Los Angeles, no team owner — other than those who actually moved here — played a bigger role than Jones. He was born in this city and spent his early years in El Segundo, not far from Los Angeles International Airport. His team spends part of the training camp in Oxnard and he has a deep affection for Southern California.

That made this win very special for him.

“It’s jewelry somewhere around here,” he said. “Afterwards we will wear small jewellery. We came in here and won a game and everyone is thrilled about it.”

When asked to elaborate, he said, “I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Jerry, I want jewelry for myself.’ What they mean is diamonds and things like that. It was more than a win coming in here and beating the Rams… Coming in here with our situation and knowing we can be better and getting better, there’s some glitz and glamour.

The lights don’t get much brighter than next Sunday night when the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL’s only undefeated team, play host to NFC East rivals Cowboys.

Prescott said he is now able to grab the football but has not committed to throwing the football this week.

“It’s day to day,” he said. “At this point it’s all about gaining strength and comfort. That happens more every day.”

As for the rest of the Cowboys, they could say the same thing.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-10-09/cowboys-stars-defense-stifle-rams Dallas, defense show Rams they have more stars than on helmets

Emma Bowman

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