Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was among of trio of Dallas players to be ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Rams in Los Angeles because of injury.
Vander Esch was ruled out in the first half with a collar bone injury.
Starting tight end Blake Jarwin and backup offensive tackle Cameron Erving were ruled out to begin the second half with knee injuries.
The Cowboys’ defense was on the field for 23 plays in the first quarter, allowing an opening-drive touchdown. The second drive ended with a missed field goal attempt. Vander Esch was not credited with a tackle.
Vander Esch is playing in his first game since Week 10 last season because of a neck injury. Television replays showed the Cowboys’ medical staff testing Vander Esch’s neck. He had offseason neck surgery but said he has felt fine throughout training camp.
Vander Esch took over as the middle linebacker this season, switching positions with Jaylon Smith, and is serving as the defensive signal-caller.
With Sean Lee on injured reserve and missing the first three games because of a pelvis issue, the Cowboys have veteran Joe Thomas and Justin March, who is mostly a special-teamer, in reserve. Luke Gifford is among the team’s inactives and he had been dealing with a hamstring issue.
Jarwin reached for his right knee after falling to the ground while running a route in the opening half. It came just a play or two after he caught a 12-yard pass. The Cowboys signed Jarwin to a four-year, $22 million contract in the offseason to replace Jason Witten, who missed just one game in his 16 seasons in Dallas.
Erving appeared to have his knee rolled up on while blocking on special teams.