Cowboys Fall On Controversial Call
The first week of the NFL season was capped off by the Los Angeles Rams' victory over America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Here are the key takeaways from the 2020 season's inaugural Sunday night game:
1. To call PI, or to not call PI...
...that is the question.
With a little over 30 seconds left in the game, and Dallas trailing by 3, Dak Prescott aired it out up the left side of the field on 2nd and 10 to receiver Michael Gallup, who was in a one-on-one battle with Rams superstar DB Jalen Ramsey.
Gallup caught the rock, and the Cowboys appeared to be well within field goal range, meaning they could at least go for the tie to force overtime if they couldn't secure the win in regulation.
But Gallup was called for offensive pass interference. You be the judge:
Reaction, of course, was across the board:
The Cowboys then failed to earn a first down on 3rd and 20 or 4th and 20, turning the ball over on downs and giving the victory to Los Angeles.
2. 4th and questionable
There was another debatable call in Sunday night's game, but it didn't come courtesy of the officials.
With 11:46 left in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys trailing 20-17, Dallas had the ball at the Rams 11-yard line. Instead of kicking the chip-shot field goal on 4th and 3, Cowboys new head coach Mike McCarthy decided to go for it, hoping to take the lead.
Prescott completed a pass to rookie CeeDee Lamb for just 2 yards, and the Cowboys turned the ball over on downs.
They would not make it to the red zone again.
After the game, Skip Bayless said that he did not take issue with McCarthy's aggressive approach, but was more concerned with a Dallas offense that scored just 3 points in the second half.
3. Rams defense pays dividends
The Cowboys were 7-1 in their last 8 season-openers before Sunday night – their last loss came in 2016 to the Green Bay Packers, then coached by McCarthy – and it had a lot to do with their offense, coupled with the Rams' defense.
After allowing a Dak-Prescott-to-Zeke-Elliott touchdown pass at the 12:24 mark of the 2nd quarter and a 1-yard Elliott TD run just 17 seconds before half, a field goal with 1:50 left in the third would be the last scoring play of the evening for Dallas.
The Rams sacked Dak 3 times, and recorded 7 QB hits, 3 tackles for loss, 4 pass deflections.
This hit from Ramsey on Amari Cooper late in the fourth also stalled a Dallas drive with just over 5 minutes to go.
After the game, Los Angeles coach Sean McVay credited the Rams' defense for the win.