The Halloween treats came early for Dallas Cowboys fans as visiting AT&T Stadium proved to be a scary endeavor for the Los Angeles Rams.
All three phases of the game contributed in the Cowboys' 43-20 victory, the team extending its home winning streak to 11 games, which is currently the longest in the NFL. Leading the charge was Dak Prescott, who completed 80.6 percent of his passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns for a 133.7 quarterback rating. That marked his eighth career game with at least four scoring tosses and his first since the 2021 season.
The primary beneficiary of Prescott's work was CeeDee Lamb, the wideout hauling in 12 catches for 158 yards, both career highs, with two touchdown grabs. Meanwhile, the running game found success too with Tony Pollard averaging 4.4 yards per carry for 53 yards, the group overall rushing for 102.
And as good as the Cowboys offense was, the defense was just as good or better. The unit haunted Matthew Stafford throughout the day, the Rams quarterback completing only 59.1 percent of his pass attempts for 162 yards for a 78.2 rating. The group finished with two sacks, five quarterback hicks and six tackles for loss as well as one interception and five pass breakups.
In all, the Cowboys also came out on top in time of possession (35:28 to 24:32) and total yards (387 to 280) on their way to a relatively easy win.
Despite Prescott being sacked on his first three drop-backs of the game – one of which was negated due to a Rams illegal contact penalty that also kept the drive alive on a third-and-11 – the Cowboys managed to right themselves and get on the board early. The quarterback went on to complete six of his next seven passes in the series, the last of which was a pretty connection with tight end Jake Ferguson down the seam for an 18-yard touchdown.
Los Angeles bounced back with three points of its own, though, the Dallas defense seeing the visitors convert a third-and-11 on their way to reaching the Cowboys' 15-yard line. But that would be as far as they would get, settling for a 33-yard field goal.
Thirty-three yards? Please. Brandon Aubrey capped off a nine-play drive with a 58-yard field goal for the Cowboys, the longest of the rookie's young career.
But before the first 15 minutes came to an end, Dallas was back on the board, jumping out to a 17-3 lead. On the Rams' very next snap, cornerback DaRon Bland stepped in front of a Stafford offering intended for Cooper Kupp and raced 30 yards untouched to pay dirt. That marked Bland's third pick-six of this 2023 campaign and the ninth interception for him in his first two seasons, the most in the NFL over that span.
So why not get special teams involved? First, with the Rams punting from their own 12-yard line, Sam Williams broke through the line and blocked the attempted boot, the ball bouncing out of the end zone for a safety.
That was soon followed by KaVontae Turpin returning the ensuing punt 63 yards to the Los Angeles 13-yard line. Two plays later, Prescott threw a strike to Lamb in the back of the end zone for 26-3 lead, the game already well in hand.
Unfortunately, not all would be perfect. The Cowboys were on the move again thanks in part to a pair of completions to Ferguson for 24 yards as well as a 21- and 13-yarders to Lamb and Turpin, respectively. But on first-and-goal at the Rams' 9-yard line, a Prescott pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and tipped again by tight end Sean McKeon before falling into the arms of safety Jordan Fuller, threat ended.
There would be no such bad luck on the next drive, however. Taking over at its own 37-yard line, the Cowboys offense needed only five plays to get across the goal line, the score coming when Prescott rolled out of the pocket to his right before finding Lamb in the end zone.
The Rams, though, would get back on the board before halftime. With 2:27 remaining in the second frame, they would travel 75 yards in 12 plays, running back Royce Freeman powering up the middle from 1-yard out to give his side its first touchdown of the game. Los Angele's two-point conversion attempt would fail, the Cowboys going into the break with a 33-10 advantage.
Getting the ball to start the second half, Los Angeles picked up right where it left off, needing seven plays to go 75 yards to the end zone. The big gain came with a 32-yard screen to Darrell Robinson before Stafford finished off the series by completing a pass to Ben Skowronek, who raced for the 20-yard touchdown.
Unfazed, the Cowboys inched their lead upwards with a 27-yard field goal by Aubrey. Perhaps more importantly, the drive lasted 17 plays and ate up 9:57 of clock, giving the defense a much-needed rest heading into the final quarter.
And the defense did its job. With Brett Rypien now at quarterback for Stafford, who had injured his thumb, the Cowboys stopped the Rams on fourth-and-2 to give the offense the ball at the Dallas 46-yard line. Soon enough, the Cowboys were back in the end zone, Prescott completing a 25-yard pass to Brandin Cooks for the touchdown.
With that, there wasn't much left to do but play out the clock. Turpin electrified the crowd with what looked like an 88-yard punt return to the goal line, but a holding call on Nahshon Wright negated the score.
So out came Cooper Rush to take over quarterbacking duties, Prescott and several of the team's other starters done for the day.
In between a series of punts from both sides, the Rams would manage to tack on a meaningless 47-yard field goal to wrap up the scoring, the game eventually coming to a merciful end.