Offensively, the Cowboys had their worst game of the season without star running back Ezekiel Elliot and left tackle Tyron Smith who was out with suspension and injury respectively. Smith’s replacement, Chaz Green, allowed five of the teams eight sacks surrendering them all to Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn. The eight sacks allowed is the most in a single game since 1991 against the Philidelphia Eagles. The six sacks by Clayborn is a Falcons single-game franchise record.
Despite the sacks, quarterback Dak Prescott finished with 43 yards and the only score of the day on the ground to go with 178 yards on 19-of-29 passing through the air. Running back Alfred Morris led in rushing with 53 yards on 11 carries. Tight end Jason Witten led in receiving hauling in seven catches for 60 yards as the Cowboys totaled just 236 yards of offense.
Defensively, the Cowboys could not overcome the first-half hamstring injury to leader linebacker Sean Lee allowing 17 second-half points without him. The Cowboys now fall to 0-3 when Lee is not on the field. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence registered the only sack of the game and safety Xavier Woods registered the only turnover on an interception. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick led in tackles with seven.
After a three and out to start the game, the Cowboys defense came up with their eighth turnover in the last three games as cornerback Anthony Brown deflected Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu that was intercepted by Woods giving the Cowboys the ball at the ATL 21-yard line. Four plays later Prescott rolled to his right, found a hole and ran it in from 11-yards out to give the Cowboys an early 7-0 lead middle first quarter. Falcons kicker Matt Bryant hit a 50-yard field goal on the last play of the quarter to cut the Cowboys lead to 7-3.
Late in the second quarter, the Falcons found the end zone as running back Tevin Coleman punched it in from 1-yard out to give the Falcons a 10-7 half-time lead. The Falcons started the second-half strong taking the opening drive 75-yards capped off by a Ryan to wide receiver Justin Hardy 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-7 mid first quarter. Kicker Mike Nugent missed a 38-yard field goal on the following drive to keep it 17-7 late third quarter.
The Falcons started the fourth quarter just like the third finding the end zone as Ryan connected with tight end Austin Hooper from 1-yard out to take a 24-7 lead. Bryant hit a 29-yard field to increase the Falcons lead to 27-7 middle fourth quarter to secure the win.
The Cowboys will look to rebound as they return home to face division rival and leader the Philidelphia Eagles Sunday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 on NBC.