By Lucas Anderson
What was ultimately a slow start for Kellen Moore and the offense, the Cowboys defense came ready to hit and hit hard. The defense seemed ready to play right out of the gate due to forcing multiple fumbles in the first half, as well as this year’s first round pick Taco Charlton recording his first sack of his young career. After multiple unimpressive drives by the Cowboys offense, that all seemed to change once Cooper Rush and Rico Gathers entered the game in the second half. Cooper Rush has already impressed in his short time as a Dallas Cowboy, and continued to do so in his second outing this preseason. Rush began the game looking calm in the pocket and crisp in his throws, completing his first eight passes including a twenty-five-yard strike to Rico Gathers for a touchdown. Rush and Gathers seem to have established quite the rapport, as Rush targeted Gathers six times and completing four. Gathers led all receivers in yards with forty-seven as he continues to improve as a route runner and his pass catching ability. Although Gathers still struggles as a blocking tight end, his big frame and strong hands provide endless potential as long as he can figure out the technique and transfer that into games.
The defense had many bright spots in this game, but for me there was none brighter than rookie Safety Xavier Woods. Woods seemed to be everywhere on the field, making multiple drive ending tackles on third down forcing the Rams to punt. What impressed me the most about Woods was his ability to cover as well as his open field tackling ability. Woods led the team in tackles with seven and six of those were solo tackles. He also delivered a massive and legal hit to a Rams receiver which jarred the ball loose and was recovered and returned by Kavon Frazier for eighteen yards, but was ultimately ruled an incomplete pass.
The offense once again struggled when veteran quarterback Luke McCown took the reins. In his first series McCown fumbled after being hit, giving the ball right back to the Rams. The stagnant offense ultimately led to the Cowboys loss of this game as the offense came up just shy of the first down on fourth down, shutting the door on any hopes of a comeback.
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