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Cowboys 100: Facts and stats ahead of Sunday’s showdown against Rams

The Dallas Cowboys will open the 2020 season against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA.
Credit: AP
Helmets are pictured on the Los Angeles Rams bench before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys begin their 2020 journey with a trip to California where they will help christen the new stadium of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. With that in mind, here are some facts and stats to get you ready for the season opener:

10 Series Facts 

The Cowboys are 39-20-1 (.650) on Opening Day while the Rams are 43-39 (.524).

This is the first time since 2018 the Cowboys will wear their blue jerseys on Opening Day. The Cowboys are 7-4 in their blue jerseys on Opening Day.

The Cowboys are 71-74-1 in their blue jerseys with a 3-4 record against the Rams.

The Cowboys are 10-20 when playing their first game in each of the current NFL venues.

The Cowboys are 18-17 against the Rams all-time with an 8-8 record on the road.

Dallas is 8-8 against the Rams on the road. Here is the breakdown by venue:

  • Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: 3-4
  • Anaheim Stadium: 3-3
  • Edward Jones Dome: 2-1

On Opening Days following seasons where the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs, they are 12-13-1.

On Opening Days following years where the Rams didn’t make the playoffs, Los Angeles is 27-27.

The Cowboys are 29-26 all-time in games in the Pacific Time Zone with a 6-6 record in prime time.

Dallas hasn’t beaten the Rams in California since Nov. 18, 1990, when the Cowboys prevailed 24-21.

11 Dak Prescott Facts 

Prescott will join Troy Aikman as the only Cowboys quarterbacks to have started every Opening Day through their first five seasons.

Prescott is the only Cowboys quarterback with at least four Opening Day starts to have never had consecutive Opening Day wins nor consecutive Opening Day losses.

Prescott’s 9.3 intended air yards last season was tied with Josh Allen for the fifth-most in the NFL.

Last year, Prescott’s average completion air yards were 7.7, the third-highest in the NFL.

Prescott’s receivers dropped 36 passes last year, the most in the NFL.

Prescott had 451 on-target throws last year, the most in the league.

Prescott threw off play-action 138 times last year, the sixth-most in the league. His 1,239 yards passing were the third-most overall.

Last year, the Cowboys ran 54 run-pass option plays with Prescott, the ninth-most in the NFL.

Prescott’s 19 first downs rushing were the sixth-most in the NFL last year.

Prescott’s 4,902 passing yards last year were the second-most in the NFL. Third-most belonged to Jared Goff with 4,638.

Prescott has the most regular season wins among the 2016 draft class with 40. Goff is second with 33.

10 Jared Goff Facts 

Goff was tied with Jameis Winston for the most passes last year with 626.

Goff was tied with Kyle Allen for the fourth-most interceptions with 16.

Goff’s 2.6 interception percentage was tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Daniel Jones for the ninth-highest in the NFL.

Goff had the eighth-highest intended air yards last year with 4,825.

Goff had the sixth-highest completed air yards last year with 2,388.

Goff benefited the most from yards after the catch last year with 2,250.

Goff and Andy Dalton had the 10th-most passes dropped last year with 27.

437 of Goff’s passes last year were on-target, the fourth-most in the NFL.

Goff ran the most play-action passes last year with 194. Second-most belonged to Carson Wentz with 171.

Goff has a 2-1 record against the Cowboys, including playoffs. Goff joins Roman Gabriel, Pat Haden, Vince Ferragamo, and Jim Everett as the only Rams quarterbacks with at least two wins against Dallas.

10 Ezekiel Elliot Facts 

Elliott’s 4.5 yards per carry last year was tied with Dalvin Cook for the fourth-lowest among running backs with at least 250 carries.

Elliott’s 12 rushing touchdowns were tied with former Rams running back Todd Gurley for the fifth-most in the league.

Elliott had 678 rushing yards before contact last season, the third-most in the NFL.

Elliott had 679 rushing yards after contact last year, the sixth-most in the league.

Last season, in Week 15, Elliott carried 24 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns against the Rams, the best game of his career against Los Angeles.

Aside from 2017 when he was suspended, Elliott has produced seven 100-yard rushing games per season.

Among Cowboys running back with at least 10 100-yard rushing games, Elliott has the third-highest winning percentage at .846. Tony Dorsett is first with .907 (43 games) and Calvin Hill is second with .875 (16 games).

Elliott’s only 100-yard rushing game in Week 1 was 2017 when he carried 24 times for 104 yards in a 19-3 Sunday night win versus the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.

Last season, Elliott played 37 offensive snaps in Week 1, the second-fewest of his career. Fewest belongs to Week 16 versus the Detroit Lions in a 42-21 win.

Elliott’s 21 first downs by reception were the fifth-most in 2019.

10 Mike McCarthy Facts

McCarthy will be the first Cowboys coach since Tom Landry in 1960 to coach the team in his debut while they are wearing a dark color scheme. Landry’s first game was Sept. 24, 1960, versus the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Cotton Bowl.

If McCarthy can get a win, he will join Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Wade Phillips, and Jason Garrett as the only Dallas coaches to be victorious in their first game.

McCarthy is 9-4 in Opening Day games with a 3-2 record on the road.

McCarthy is 5-2 against the Rams with a 3-1 record on the road.

McCarthy’s 5-2 road record against the Rams is his best against any NFC West opponent:

  • Rams: .714 (5-2)

  • 49ers: .555 (5-4)

  • Seahawks: .545 (6-5)

  • Cardinals: .429 (3-4)

McCarthy is 14-14 on Sunday Night Football with a 5-10 record on the road.

Including postseason, McCarthy is 32-30 in prime time games with a 10-22 record in road or neutral site games.

McCarthy is 29-15-1 in September with an 11-10 record on the road.

McCarthy is 64-46-1 against playoff-winning coaches with a 25-33 record on the road.

McCarthy is 47 for 93 on challenges with a 1 for 1 rate in 2018 with Green Bay.

11 Sean McVay Facts 

McVay is 3-0 on Opening Day. The last Rams coach to win four or more season openers in a row was George Allen when he won five from 1966-70.

McVay is 3-4 against the NFC East, including playoffs, with a 1-3 record at home.

McVay is 2-1 against the Cowboys. Here is how he compares to other Rams coaches by chronological order:

  • Bob Waterfield: 1-1

  • George Allen: 0-2

  • Tom Prothro: 1-0

  • Chuck Knox: 4-2

  • Ray Malavasi: 4-3

  • John Robinson: 4-3

  • Mike Martz: 0-1

  • Joe Vitt: 1-0

  • Scott Linehan: 0-1

  • Jim Haslett: 1-0

  • Steve Spagnuolo: 0-1

  • Jeff Fisher: 0-2

  • Sean McVay: 2-1

In 2018, McVay became the first Rams coach since Ray Malavasi to lead the team to two consecutive division titles in his first two seasons.

In 2018, McVay became the first Rams coach since Mike Martz to lead the team to consecutive top-2 finishes in points in his first two seasons.

In 2019, McVay became the first Rams coach since Martz to lead the Rams to three consecutive winning seasons and to do so in his first three seasons.

McVay is 9-2 in September with a 5-2 record at home.

McVay is 7-5 in prime time games with a 4-2 record at home.

McVay is 7 for 19 on challenges for his career with a 1 for 5 rate in 2019.

McVay threw a challenge flag related to pass interference on Sept. 22, 2019, versus the Cleveland Browns and lost.

McVay is 1 of 28 different NFC coaches to have appeared in an NFC Championship Game since the Dallas Cowboys last made it.

10 Broadcast Facts 

This is the fourth time since Sunday Night Football moved to NBC that the teams in the Week 1 game failed to qualify for the postseason the year before.

The Rams are the 12th different team the Cowboys will face on the NBC Sunday Night Football package, including playoffs.

The last time Dallas played the Rams on a Sunday night was Jan. 1, 2006, in the last game of the ESPN Sunday Night Football package. The Rams beat Dallas 20-10 at Texas Stadium.

Sunday’s game will mark the second incarnation of Sunday Night Football that the Cowboys have played the Rams. The one network they did not get face each other on was TNT.

Dallas is 27-22 on NBC Sunday Night Football, including playoff games and NFL Specials.

The Cowboys have appeared the most on Sunday Night Football for a season opener since 2006 with six appearances. Dallas is 4-2 with all of their wins coming against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys are 54-38 when Al Michaels calls their games, including the postseason.

The Cowboys are 28-23 when Collinsworth does color commentary for their games.

The Cowboys are 13-6 in Opening Day prime time games with a 5-5 record on the road.

The Rams are 3-2 on Opening Day prime time games with a 2-1 record at home.

12 Tony Corrente Facts 

This week’s referee is Tony Corrente. 

The Cowboys are 9-8 when he referees their games:

  • 2000 — MIN, 15-27 – L

  • 2001 — @SEA, 3-29 – L

  • 2004 — NO, 13-27 – L

  • 2005 — Rams, 10-20 – L

  • 2006 — WAS, 27-10 – W

  • 2009 — CAR, 21-7 – W

  • 2010 — @WAS, 7-13 – L

  • 2010 — @PHI, 14-13 – W

  • 2013 — NYG, 36-31 – W

  • 2014 — WAS, 17-20 – L-OT

  • 2015 — @PHI, 20-10 – W

  • 2016 — CIN, 28-14 – W

  • 2016 — @MIN, 17-15 – W 

  • 2016 — *GB, 31-34 – L

  • 2018 — JAX, 40-7 – W

  • 2019 — @DET, 35-27 – W

  • 2019 — @PHI, 9-17 – L

*playoff game

Since 2000, the Cowboys have had fewer penalties than their opponents in 7 of 17 games refereed by Tony Corrente. 

Corrente tied for the sixth-highest home team winning percentage in 2019 at .533.

Corrente tied for the fifth-highest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties in 2019 at .600.

The Rams are 6-9 when Corrente referees their games.

The Rams have had fewer penalties than the opposition in 6 of 15 games refereed by Tony Corrente.

In 2019, Corrente refereed games tied for the seventh-fewest sacks per game at 4.9.

In 2019, Corrente refereed games tied for the fourth-highest offensive holding calls per game at 3.1.

When Corrente has officiated Cowboys games, the Cowboys are 1 for 5 on coaches challenges compared to opponents at 3 for 3. Replay Assistant is 0 for 4 with all of those calls benefiting the Cowboys.

The Rams are 3 for 4 when challenging Corrente’s calls with opponents going 1 for 3. Replay Assistant is 0 for 3 with one of those calls benefiting the Rams.

In 2019, Corrente had the fourth-highest challenge overturn rate in the NFL at 4 for 9.

In 2019, Corrente did not overturn a call related to pass interference during the regular season in three attempts.

16 Miscellaneous Facts

The last time two times the Cowboys opened a new stadium on a Sunday night, it resulted in a Dallas loss (2002 at the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium; 2009 versus the New York Giants, AT&T Stadium).

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has never recorded a sack against the Cowboys. Dallas is one of six teams to have not had their quarterback sacked by Donald.

Donald has produced four total tackles against Dallas, tied with the Eagles for the fewest he has collected in a minimum of three games.

The Rams produced 50 sacks last year, the fourth-most in the league.

The Rams produced 24 takeaways last year, the ninth-most in the NFL.

Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup each had one catch against the Rams last year.

Gallup had the seventh-highest yards per reception last year with 16.8.

Cooper Kupp was tied with Mark Andrews for the second-most touchdown catches last year with 10.

Tyler Higbee had the fifth-most receiving yards for a tight end last year with 734.

Among receivers with at least 80 targets, Higbee had the sixth-highest catch percentage last year at 77.5%.

Dallas gave up the most receiving yards to tight ends last year with 1,016.

The Rams gave up the fewest receiving yards to running backs last year with 532.

The Cowboys are 4-3 all-time on Sept. 13. Here are the results:

  • 1981 – Cardinals, 30-17 – W

  • 1982 – PIT, 28-36 – L

  • 1987 – @Cardinals, 13-24 – L

  • 1992 – @NYG, 34-28 – W

  • 1998 – @DEN, 23-42 – L

  • 2009 – @TB, 34-21 – W

  • 2013 – NYG, 27-26 – W

The Rams are 3-5 on Sept. 13. Here are the results:

  • 1942 – @CRD, 0-7 – L

  • 1964 – @PIT, 26-14 – W

  • 1981 – @NO, 17-23 – L

  • 1987 – @OTI, 16-20 – L

  • 1992 – NE, 14-0 – W

  • 1998 – MIN, 31-38 – L

  • 2009 – @SEA, 0-28 – L

  • 2015 – SEA, 34-31 – W-OT

The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Sept. 13:

  • Gary Barnes, WR, 1963 – 9/13/1939

  • Walt Johnson, DT, 1987 – 9/13/1965

  • Brad Johnson, QB, 2007-08 – 9/13/1968

  • Richie Anderson, FB, 2003-04 – 9/13/1971

The Cowboys also remember the death of Toni Fritsch on Sept. 13, 2005. Fritsch was with the team from 1971-73 and also 1975.

Do you think the Cowboys will be able to start the season 1-0 after Sunday night? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.