Rams Head Coach Sean McVay – Rams vs. Cowboys Postgame Quotes – September 13, 2020

(Opening Remarks)
“Great job by the team. To be able to get the win, that’s obviously what we want to be able to get done. I thought our offense slowed up in the second half, but the defense picked up the slack. That’s what team football is all about. Had a couple costly penalties, that we have to be able to avoid moving forward, but overall, I liked the way we came out. I like the way the defense settled in the game. I liked the way (K) Sam Sloman, after he missed that field goal, ended up settling himself down. I thought (P) Johnny Hekker had some timely punts that flipped the field. Ultimately that’s what we want to do, come away with the win. That’s a tough football team. We have to get a lot better and we look forward to getting ready for ‘Philly’ (Philadelphia) next week.”

(On how S Jordan Fuller’s fourth quarter play changed the momentum)
“Unbelievable play. I mean, that flipped the whole momentum of the game. You know, and really, we ended up getting a good drive going and we ended up having a third-and-2 penalty that I thought we had a chance to really capitalize, go up ten (points) there. But again, the defense came up big, but that play right there was the play of the game, arguably. I can’t say enough about (S) Jordan Fuller, his maturity as a rookie and what kind of play that was. Outstanding.”

(On what went into the decision to start RB Cam Akers)
“We felt like (RB) Malcom (Brown) is such a big, important part for our game-plan, but he was going to get a lot of opportunities in some of those later down situations. But he ended up carrying the load and did an excellent job. Punched two touchdowns in there, had some tough runs. You know, we have to figure out a way to convert on that third down and three, so we don’t put our defense back out on the grass. But overall, for Malcolm to have 18 carries, a tough hard earned, I think about 79 yards, a couple touchdowns, and then he made some plays in the screen game as well. So, great game learning ‘opp’ (opportunity) for a lot of our young players and (RB) Cam (Akers) is going to continue to get better from this one.”

(On if Fuller’s amount of playing time was based on packages for this game or S Taylor Rapp still being worked back in)
“It was based on the that way (S) Jordan Fuller performed throughout training camp. (S) Taylor Rapp is a big part of our football team, that is not going to change, but it was more a result of great things that Jordan has done from day one. I mean, he’s been making plays, he’s mature beyond his years. The way he sees things, his range, his ability to make plays, as he demonstrated tonight. So, very pleased with Jordan. He’s going to continue to get better, but Taylor Rapp is a huge part of our football team as well.”

(On what he would like to do better in the red zone)
“I’ve got to call some better plays and then also we have to do a better job of avoiding the penalties. You know, we had self-inflicted wounds. We got a favorable down-and-distance, we ended up getting an intentional grounding, that’s a drive killer. I called a bad screen in a situation there on a second down. But the good thing is, is that it’s much easier to correct after a win. We made some plays that could of cost us, but we made some plays that ended up getting the win tonight. And ultimately, it is a team game, I was really pleased with all three phases, being able to collectively contribute to the outcome while knowing that, ‘Hey, we have a lot of things that we can look at, get better,’ and that’s exactly where our focus and concentration will be moving towards ‘Philly’ (Philadelphia) next week.”

(On how important new players such as WR Van Jefferson, K Samuel Sloman, and OLB Leonard Floyd are moving forward)
“It’s going to be huge because all those guys you mention are going to be big parts of what we are trying to do moving forward. Those guys showed up. I mean, shoot, you see (OLB) Jachai Polite making a big-time rush and the two-minute situation at the end of the game. So, a lot of contributors. That’s exactly what you want. You want depth across the board, guys that you feel like can step up and make plays and that was what was reflected tonight. But a lot of those guys, I was very pleased with them. Man, it’s a different atmosphere here. You realize how much you appreciate the crowd, but I thought our guys, our group had great energy throughout and that’s a credit to our team leadership – the (DL Michael) Brockers, the (DL) Aaron Donalds, (CB) Jalen (Ramsey) had great juice, and (OL Andrew) Whitworth. Those guys, they were outstanding tonight.”

(On if it was eerie or weird on the field tonight with no fans)
“It was. You appreciate the ebbs and flows and the big plays and the excitement from the crowd and how much energy they bring. So, that was kind of what I was alluding to in my last comment. I was really pleased with the energy we had from our sidelines, but man when that’s the only thing you’re hearing, when Dallas made a couple plays and you hear just from their sideline, it is. Eerie is a great way to be able to describe it. But what a cool thing to be able to get a win for Mr. (Owner/Chairman E. Stanley) Kroenke tonight in this beautiful venue that he built.”

(On what he’ll remember the most about opening the building tonight besides the win)
“I think the win is definitely – that atmosphere in the locker room is something that you can’t get enough of. That’s what you love so much, is being able to work hard towards a common goal and achieve it with people that you care and love so much. So, it’s one step in the right direction. We have a lot of work to do, but I think I’ll remember the silence too. I mean, this was a different atmosphere, but the magnitude of this stadium is something that you truly cherish, it’s a blessing and we want to make sure we take advantage of every opportunity we get to compete here.”

(On if it was a conscious decision by the team to not be on the field during “Lift Every Voice and Sing”)
“No, you know what, we finished our warmups like six minutes early and just for the guys to stand in the endzone, that was what it was. No disrespect in the least bit. That was not part of the plan. I didn’t realize, that’s 100 percent on me, didn’t realize the timing of it. So, our guys were kind of standing out there for forever. That’s 100 percent on me, no excuses about that and that was definitely not planned. Moving forward, those things, I will make sure that I do a better job of getting that situated, in terms of when we finish up warmups, if that’s something that they do in Week 2 moving forward.”

(On the defense proving themselves to be the backbone of the team tonight)
“I thought the defense was the backbone of the team tonight in crunch time. I thought the offense did a great job in the first half, we petered out a little bit in the second half. Special teams, when they had their opportunities did a nice job of contributing. I liked the way ‘Sam’ (K Samuel Sloman) responded after the early missed field goal. But ultimately it is about the team, I thought the defense picked up the slack in the second half to ultimately close it out and that was a big deal.”

(On the way the team was able to get long, clock-eating drives)
“We did. I would’ve really liked if the last drive was a little bit longer, then putting our defense back out on the grass. They were in some favorable situations that we felt like we could be able to get out on the edge. I can’t wait to look at this tape because I know there is a lot of things we can get better at. But ultimately, I did like the way that we came out. I think we had great tempo in that first drive. I thought we were able to sustain it, really, I’ll be interested to go back and look at the one turnover that we did have. Looked like we kind of had some hands to the face, but ultimately, I have to see the film and be able to look at it. We have to take care of the football. We can’t do that, but a lot of good things and a lot of things that we can clean up.”

(On what he thought about QB Jared Goff’s performance tonight)
“I thought he did a nice job. I thought he made plays in a timely situations. I love the throw when we were kind of backed up against our own endzone, but he made the play in the play-action to (WR) Cooper Kupp. Thought that was a big-time ballsy throw and then he made some big third-down conversions. I thought he managed the situation. I thought he did a great job getting us in and out of some of the right looks. So, overall, very pleased. I’ll be interested to look at that one play because those are the things that we have to be able to avoid, but if there was something in his face, then that’s something that we got to be able to see that as well.”

(On how important it was to get off on a positive note instead of going into Week 2 with a loss)
“I think it was big. And it’s just one game though, so there’s a lot of football to be played, but there’s a lot of work that goes into this to be able to start off in the right direction, especially in the first game at SoFi (Stadium), that was a big deal. And we know what a good football team Dallas (Cowboys) is. I bet they’re going to win a lot of football games this year. (Dallas Head) Coach (Mike) McCarthy does a great job and you can see they’re a tough unit on all three phases and got a lot of respect for some of their players. You see why they’re special guys.”

(On was there was a balance to getting his rookie kicker live reps in a game and going for it on fourth down)
“There was. I’ll never claim to be perfect with some of my decision making. You always look inwardly as well. So, we have a self-scout, where we’re correcting our players, but I’ve also got to make sure that I’m cognizant of some of my decision making. But there was a lot of being mindful of making sure that, you try to get (K) Sam (Sloman) in some good situations. And I think in a lot of instances it was like, ‘Hey, we still have confidence to let you come out and punch this thing in.’ And we felt like that was the right decision at the time. I’ll go back and definitely be able to critique myself on some of those. There was a couple that I definitely thought about it, even at the end there. But just feeling the flow at the end of the game that the defense had such good momentum, felt good about punting it back, but, a lot of good things to be able to look at tonight.”