National

Cowboys move to 4-1 with Cooper Rush as defense suffocates Rams on road

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys’ visit to the Los Angeles Rams ended as it started: with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford running for his life and the Cowboys defense taking the ball away.

Stafford dropped back on third-and-11 with 3:38 to play, scrambling just barely to his right before he unleashed a pass and was knocked down by Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa.

Stafford’s pass was complete — to Cowboys safety Malik Hooker.

From there, Dallas’ defense held off en route to a 22-10 victory and 4-1 start.

The performance reflected the truth in quarterback Cooper Rush’s Thursday sentiments that quarterback win statistics are often “inflated,” team records far more meaningful.

The Cowboys won their fourth straight game this season with Rush under center as Dak Prescott heals from a thumb fracture. And yet, Rush’s top contribution to this victory was arguably his avoidance of turnovers on a 10-of-16 passing day for 102 yards and no scores.

Dallas' lone offensive touchdown came on a 57-yard Tony Pollard rush in which Pollard broke not one, not two, but three tackles.

The Cowboys needed that after their own defense gave up its only touchdown of the day, courtesy of Rams all-purpose weapon Cooper Kupp, who appeared to reach another gear on his 75-yard score.

In reality, though, the Cowboys defense set the tone in the first 93 seconds of the play, during which defensive end Dorance Armstrong strip-sacked Stafford and fellow end DeMarcus Lawrence scooped the loose ball and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown.

Armstrong would soon also block a Rams punt, setting up his teammates for an easy field goal.

Yet again, Cowboys kicker Brett Maher was perfect on field goal attempts, connecting from 33, 40 and 36 yards.

In the end, a 28-of-42, 308-yard performance from Stafford wasn’t enough to overcome the Cowboys’ defensive effort. Dallas had five sacks and 11 quarterback hits.

Kupp caught seven of his 10 targets for a game-high 125 yards and a touchdown, the Cowboys gaining 163 of their 239 offensive yards on the ground.

The defending Super Bowl champion Rams fell to 2-3. At 4-1, the Cowboys travel to undefeated Philadelphia next week for a prime time division showdown.

Follow Yahoo Sports' Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein https://twitter.com/JoriEpstein