Cowboys disrupt Rams' rushing rhythm by shutting down Todd Gurley
ARLINGTON, Texas —
The Dallas Cowboys were not going to let Todd Gurley do it again.
Two years ago at AT&T Stadium, Gurley scored on an electrifying catch-and-run play that helped the Rams beat the Cowboys. In an NFC divisional-round playoff victory over the Cowboys last season, Gurley rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.
On Sunday, Gurley caught a short touchdown pass, but rushed for only 20 yards and a late touchdown in 11 carries in the Rams’ 44-21 defeat.
“They came in and shut us down pretty quick,” Gurley said.
Coach Sean McVay had put the ball in Gurley’s hands with greater frequency in three of the Rams’ previous four games. The strategy paid off with performances by the offense that gave players, coaches and fans optimism about the team’s playoff chances.
The Cowboys had lost three games in a row, but shut down Gurley and limited him to 1.8 yards per carry.
“We weren’t able to get into any sort of rhythm and get things going in the run game,” McVay said.
Gurley has rushed for 744 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He has 29 receptions, two for touchdowns.
The Rams play the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium. Gurley sat out a 20-7 loss to the 49ers on Oct. 13 because of a thigh injury. The loss started a three-game losing streak.
“I’m excited,” Gurley said. “Didn’t get a chance to play against those guys last time. Saturday night game.
“We got to try and get right.”
Tyler Higbee sets team record
Tyler Higbee caught a career-best 12 passes for 111 yards to become the first tight end in Rams history to have three consecutive games with 100 yards receiving.
Higbee caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in a 34-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He caught seven passes for 116 yards in a 28-12 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Higbee has 52 catches for 546 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Receiver Cooper Kupp caught six passes for 41 yards and a touchdown and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving in a season for the first time.
“Right now it doesn’t really mean much,” Kupp said.
Kupp, a third-round draft pick in 2017, has 83 receptions for 1,031 yards and seven touchdowns.
In 2018, receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods each amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving. Kupp might have done the same had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Troy Hill is injured
Cornerback Troy Hill suffered a hand injury during the first quarter and did not return. Darious Williams played in Hill’s spot.
Hill moved into the starting lineup after Aqib Talib suffered a rib injury during an Oct. 3 loss against the Seahawks. Talib was later traded to the Miami Dolphins.
Hill had two interceptions in the last four games. Williams made five tackles Sunday.
Tavon Austin scores
In April 2018, the Rams traded receiver Tavon Austin to the Cowboys for a sixth-round draft pick.
Austin, the No. 8 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, scored Sunday on a 59-yard pass from Dak Prescott in the second quarter. The play started a run of 30 consecutive points by the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin carries the ball past Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald during the first half.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff is stopped short of the goal line by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Sean Lee, left, as safety Xavier Woods (25) moves in during the first half.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff looks to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys.
Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam, left, breaks up a pass by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott during the first quarter.
Rams coach Sean McVay watches from the sideline during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys flag team runs onto the field after a second-quarter touchdown.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott goes airborne after being hit by Rams defenisve tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (69) during the second quarter.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scores a touchdown against the Rams in the second quarter.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott runs past the Rams’ defense during the second half.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard sprints away from the Rams’ defense during the second half.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee runs with the ball after picking off a pass from Rams quarterback Jared Goff.
Rams coach Sean McVay speaks with tight end Tyler Higbee (89) and center Austin Blythe during the second half of a 44-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Prescott kept the play alive by using his strength and mobility to elude edge rusher Dante Fowler. As Austin crossed the field from right to left, Williams collided with safety Taylor Rapp, enabling Austin to break free. Prescott passed him the ball and Austin turned upfield to the end zone.
“Tavon crossed the field, two guys ran at each other and he did the rest,” Prescott said.
The last time the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein played in AT&T Stadium, he kicked seven field goals in a 35-30 victory. On Sunday, he did not attempt a field goal. … Former Rams end Robert Quinn had one quarterback hit for the Cowboys.