Rams open SoFi Stadium in style, cap off big week with win over Cowboys


INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- There were no fans in attendance to watch, but nevertheless, the Los Angeles Rams opened SoFi Stadium in style Sunday night, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 20-17.

Fresh off a record-breaking five-year, $105 million contract extension, cornerback Jalen Ramsey delivered a bone-chilling hit late in the fourth quarter on Amari Cooper to stifle a Cowboys drive, and receiver Cooper Kupp, who signed a three-year extension a day before kickoff, dazzled across the new field turf as the Rams' offense piled up 422 total yards.

With a 1-0 start, the Rams will now leave the comfort of their new $5 billion home to travel east the next two weeks to play the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills, respectively.

Describe the game in two words: So strange. It should have been a grand celebration, as SoFi Stadium -- a project more than three years in the making and delayed a year because of historic rains -- finally made its debut. Instead, because of the coronavirus pandemic, fans and family members were forced to watch from home as crowd noise was piped in and a public-address announcer shouted to no one in particular.

QB breakdown: With his fifth NFL season underway, Jared Goff appeared poised and confident throughout the opener. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards, with an interception. In the first half, Goff orchestrated four trips into the red zone, though only one resulted in a touchdown. In the second half, Goff put together an 11-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Brown. In what appeared as Goff's only blunder of the game, Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie intercepted a pass intended for Van Jefferson that eventually was converted into a field goal. However, replays suggested that the play should have been overturned, as Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith's arm hit Goff in the head.

Pivotal play: Trailing 20-17, the Cowboys attempted to convert on fourth-and-3 with 11:40 to play in the fourth quarter, passing on a potential tying field goal attempt. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott attempted a short pass to CeeDee Lamb, but rookie safety Jordan Fuller broke up the play and the Rams took over on downs, maintaining a three-point lead.

Pivotal play II: With 5:14 left in the fourth quarter, the Rams' defense came through again when Ramsey played tight coverage on Cooper and delivered a monstrous hit that jarred the ball loose for an incompletion, forcing the Cowboys to punt.

Promising trend: The Rams' 2020 rookie class is bound for a big season if Sunday night was any indication. Running back Cam Akers, a second-round pick from Florida State, started, and receiver Van Jefferson, a second-round selection from Florida, played a prominent role. Akers rushed for 39 yards in 14 carries and Jefferson hauled in an impressive 31-yard reception in tight coverage. Fuller, a sixth-round pick from Ohio State, started at safety and had the pivotal pass breakup that kept the Cowboys from converting on fourth down early in the fourth quarter. And Samuel Sloman, the rookie kicker from Miami (Ohio), rebounded after missing a 29-yarder to convert field goal attempts of 35 and 31 yards.