Jared Goff, Rams Beat Cowboys 13-10 in Preseason Battle; Todd Gurley Struggles

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2017

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff gestures during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Offense was in short supply Saturday night as the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 in preseason play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Snaps for starters proved scarce in the exhibition tilt, and that was particularly true for the reigning NFC East champions.

After opting to sit all of his big guns in last Thursday's Hall of Fame Game, head coach Jason Garrett embraced the same strategy in sunny Southern California. As a result, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant were nowhere to be found.

The same couldn't be said of the Rams, who let their starters play two series in the first quarter.

All eyes, of course, were on quarterback Jared Goff—who is looking to make a developmental leap under head coach Sean McVay after he struggled mightily in seven starts a season ago.

In his first action of the summer, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick completed three of four passes for 34 yards.

On his final attempt of the night, Goff hit Robert Woods in stride on a quick slant, but the receiver coughed up the ball before rookie Cooper Kupp saved the day and recovered the fumble in the end zone.

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The NFL relayed video of the unconventional score:


Ruling on the field is confirmed... it's a @RamsNFL TOUCHDOWN! 🙌 @CooperKupp! #DALvsLAR https://t.co/FFRUsAn33Z

Kupp was also on the receiving end of a 19-yard pass from Goff as McVay deployed the third-round pick in a variety of ways, according to Pro Football Focus:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Cooper Kupp lined up all over the formation for the Rams tonight https://t.co/ZSFkK6B3Rd

The Rams weren't nearly as successful on the ground in the early going.

In two series, running back Todd Gurley managed two yards on four carries—conjuring up memories of his dreadful 2016 season.

Rotoworld's Evan Silva and Yahoo Sports' Brad Evans noted Gurley didn't seem to be running particularly hard:

Brad Evans @YahooNoise

Again, Todd Gurley faced light fronts 44.2% of time last year and averaged 3.4 ypc. He isn't blameless people. Keep that in mind.

That said, Los Angeles had to be moderately pleased with rookie Justin Davis.

Although he fumbled twice, Davis ran with purpose and showcased impressive burst in space as he rumbled to 70 yards on nine carries.

The Cowboys also featured a solid ground game in the first half as Darren McFadden showcased why he's the favorite to start so long as Elliott is suspended.

On a night when he took all 19 first-team snaps, according to Pro Football Focus' Nathan Jahnke, McFadden recorded six carries for 28 yards and one reception for eight yards.

Kellen Moore once again assumed starting duties at quarterback for the Cowboys, but he underwhelmed. In one half of work, Moore completed eight of 17 passes for 69 yards and averaged a meager 4.1 yards per attempt.

With two preseason tilts in the books, the Cowboys figure to get Prescott, Bryant and the rest of their key weapons back on the field in a limited capacity Aug. 19 when the Indianapolis Colts travel to AT&T Stadium.

The Rams will also be back in action Aug. 19 for an intrastate clash with the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

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