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  • Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams passes against the Dallas Cowboys n the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a first down against cornerback Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd #54 of the Los Angeles Rams pressures quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Cooper Kupp #10 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass for a first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams prepares to pass against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Robert Woods #17 of the Los Angeles Rams leaps for the first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Kicker Sam Sloman #1 of the Los Angeles Rams misses a field goal attempt against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams passes against the Dallas Cowboys n the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Tight end Tyler Higbee #89 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass for a first down against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in the first half during a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Tight end Blake Jarwin #89 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass for a first down against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones looks on against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams runs past defensive tackle Trysten Hill #72 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams dives for yardage against outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams reacts against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams dives for the touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Van Jefferson #12 of the Los Angeles Rams catches a pass over cornerback Trevon Diggs #27 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Running back Malcolm Brown #34 of the Los Angeles Rams runs past defensive tackle Trysten Hill #72 of the Dallas Cowboys for a first down in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by the ]Los Angeles Rams defense in the first half of a NFL football game on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Los Angeles Rams owners box during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams kneel next to quarterback quarterback Jared Goff #16 during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams kneel next to quarterback quarterback Jared Goff #16 during the National Anthem prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Los Angeles Rams take the field in front of an empty stadium prior to a NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sunday, September 13, 2020. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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INGLEWOOD — The zero under attendance on the stat sheet will always be a historical footnote to the Rams’ first night at SoFi Stadium.

Sunday, the zero under fourth quarter on the scoreboard was more important because it gave the Rams the victory.

Clinging to a three-point lead going to the fourth, the Rams defense used some big plays to keep the dangerous Dallas Cowboys from scoring again and held on for a 20-17 victory.

The win opened both the multi-billion-dollar new stadium and the Rams’ 2020 season.

Too bad the 72,000 seats were empty, a COVID-19-era edict until further notice.

The turning-point play came when the Cowboys went for it on fourth down and three at the Rams’ 11 when a field goal would have tied the game early in the fourth. Dak Prescott’s pass found rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb over the middle. But rookie safety Jordan Fuller stopped Lamb short of the first.

The Rams had gone up by six late in the third quarter on Malcolm Brown’s second short touchdown run, a two-yarder on which he nearly clicked his heels going into the end zone untouched.

But on the Rams’ next series, Jared Goff was hit as he threw toward Van Jefferson and the pass wobbled into the arms of Dallas cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

The Cowboys took over in Rams territory and got close enough for Greg Zuerlein to hit a 33-yard field goal, Zuerlein’s first not as a member of the Rams.

It could have been the start of a comeback for the Cowboys, who, like the Rams, thought they were too good to miss the playoffs the way they did in 2019.

Dallas gave a reminder of why it felt that way early Sunday with stars handling the ball on every play.

Prescott came out firing to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, with first-round draft pick Lamb joining the receivers.

Elliott gave Dallas the 14-13 lead at halftime with two touchdowns, the second  a 1-yard run with 17 seconds on the clock.

At that point the Rams had controlled more of the ball and had outgained the Cowboys.

Yes, the Rams had opened the scoring, with Brown tumbling into the end zone from one yard out with 11:37 left in the first quarter to record SoFi Stadium’s first touchdown.

But they had drives stall short in field position three times.

The first, a nearly nine-minute drive from their 17 to the Dallas 11, brought in rookie kicker Samuel Sloman for his first Rams field-goal try. The 29-yarder clanged off the left upright and it remained 7-0.

After the Cowboys tied it 7-7 on a 19-yard Elliott catch and run, the Rams settled for field goals twice, Sloman hitting from 35 yards and 31 yards.

The second of those drives featured a sight Rams fans hope to see a lot: Goff connected on a beautifully thrown pass to rookie wide receiver Van Jefferson along the left sideline for 31 yards to the Dallas 21.

Goff finished with 275 yards on 20 for 31 passing. Robert Woods caught six for 105. Brown had a career-high 79 yards on 18 carries.

More to come on this report.

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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