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After beating the New York Giants in Week 1, it looked like the Kansas City Chiefs wouldn’t be much of a problem for the Dallas Cowboys. However, Dallas stumbled hard and lost to the young Chiefs team in week two. That makes the St. Louis Rams look much more dangerous than they might have seemed heading into the season. Here is a look at the Dallas vs. St. Louis game coming up in week three of the NFL season.
After two games, the Rams have proven they are a team to be reckoned with in 2013. St. Louis enters the game with a 1-1 record and the fourth ranked passing offense in the NFL.
Some might find that stat surprising, but there is a reason the Rams are starting to turn things around. Sam Bradford was a Heisman Trophy winner with the Oklahoma Sooners and the first overall pick in the NFL Draft for the Rams when he came to the NFL. While his career has been lackluster so far, that isn’t Bradford’s fault. St. Louis had a horrible offensive line and no receivers worth throwing the ball to.
Things are changing now in St. Louis. While they are nowhere near the “Greatest Show on Turf,” as they once were named, Bradford is starting to light things up for the Rams. In the first two games, he has thrown for 651 yards and five touchdowns with only two interceptions.
His leading receiver in the first game was tight end Jared Cook, who has eight receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the two games of 2013, but had only one catch for six yards in the second week. Stepping up in week two was rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin, who now has back-to-back six reception games and caught his first two touchdown passes this week.
Also looking up for Bradford is holdover receivers Chris Givens and Austin Pettis, who are both starting to come into their own. They have combined to haul in 18 receptions for 226 yards in the first two games and helped give Bradford his most balanced passing attack since he came to St. Louis.
The same can’t be said for the Rams running game. New starter Daryl Richardson is off to a rough start in his new role with only 98 yards through two games, with a low average of 3.3 yards-per-carry. Neither of his backups, Zac Stacy nor Isaiah Peed, have done anything either. For the Rams, it is an air attack or nothing, which is a positive note for the Cowboys, who struggled against the run in Week 2.
The defense, usually a strength for a Jeff Fisher team, is the reason they lost in Week 2 and were forced to play it close in week one against the Arizona Cardinals. The Atlanta Falcons took a big 12-point halftime lead and St. Louis had to play from behind the rest of the game in Week 2, and in Week 1 the Rams allowed the Cardinals to put 24 points on the board.
The rushing offense is solid, ranked sixth in the NFL, but that might not be an accurate stat. At Arizona, Rashard Mendenhall was playing injured, and in week two Stephen Jackson left the game injured early on. When DeMarco Murray takes the field against the Rams, he will be the healthiest running back they have seen this year.
The passing defense is where St. Louis has fallen apart. Carson Palmer threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns in week one while Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and two touchdowns in week two. This could be a huge week for Tony Romo and Dez Bryant as Dallas tries to rebound from their loss to the Chiefs.
For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.