By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
This was supposed to be glitz and glamour and “Lights, camera, action” of Hollywood. The magnificent 5 billion-dollar SoFi Stadium stood proudly in the City of Inglewood illuminating the sky of Southern California. It was 70,240 empty seats due to COVID-19. It put a bit a damper on what should have been a night like the Academy Awards.
With years of waiting and then to have no fans the best way to open a spectacular place like this is to win the game. That’s exactly what the Rams did coming away with a 20-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
From the start the Rams marched right down the field as home grown Robert Woods had 3 catches for 60 yards on the opening drive and veteran running back Malcom Brown scored the first touchdown in the new building. It was his fifth rushing score during week one of his career. It was fitting since Brown played behind the now departed Todd Gurley for so many years. “We brought our own juice,” said Brown.
Even though rookie Cam Akers started it was Brown leading the way with 79 yards on 18 carries with a 4.4 ypc. and two touchdowns. Akers chipped in with 39 yards.
Jarrod Goff completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards as the Rams O-line did a solid job helping roll up 422 yards of offense.
Goff did have one interception as he was hit in the head on the pass play, a penalty clearly missed by the official. The Rams only had 5 penalties for 34 yards during the game.
With the ground game steady Los Angeles converted 9 of 17 third downs and controlled the clock having the ball 35 minutes to the Cowboys 24. “It’s a good thing when your offense can hold the ball and control the game like that,” said Aaron Donald. “It gave the defense a good rest.”
The defense came up with plays holding the Cowboys to only 3 second half points as they controlled the line of scrimmage in the fourth period. Donald and Michael Brockers each had a sack. Jordan Fuller made a clutch play when he stopped the Cowboys Cee Dee Lamb on a fourth-down play one yard short of the yard to gain. The rookie sixth round pick led the team with eight tackles. Micah Kiser had seven and Jalen Ramsey six.
“The defense was the backbone of the team tonight,” said Rams head coach Sean McVay. The win was McVay’s fifth straight opening day win. The Rams are trying to improve on last years 9-7 record that left them short of the playoffs.
Donald summed up the nights first game. “To be at the stadium for the first time that’s what you work for, that’s what you practice for.”
RAM NOTES: Owner Stan Kroenke received the game ball from head coach Sean McVay in the locker room… During the game Inglewood native Jerry Jones sat in his owners box mask-less while Kroenke kept his on… The Rams next two games will be on the road at the Philadelphia Eagles and at the Buffalo Bills…Rookie Jordan Fuller only missed one of the 72 plays… Cooper Kupp was a punt returner for L.A. The day before the opener Kupp signed a 3-year contract extension that could reach 48 million dollars.