Despite a 20-0 first-quarter lead, the Atlanta Falcons were outscored 40-19 in the last three quarters falling to the Dallas Cowboys 40-39. The Cowboys had three fumbles in the first quarter with the Falcons scoring 17 points off of them. On top of that, the Falcons scored 29 first-half points their most since 2016 never punting in the half.
While Dallas played better in the second quarter it was the second-half where they did their damage shutting Atlanta out in the third and outscoring them by six in the final frame. Following the disastrous start, the Cowboys offense got going improving from last week rolling up 570 yards and 33 first downs despite starting two backup tackles in rookie Terence Steele and second-year Brandon Knight who played left tackle in place of the injured Tyron Smith. This was Knight’s first game at left tackle since high school.
The makeshift line did a solid job allowing just 1 sack paving the way for 125 yards rushing. Running back Ezekiel Elliott led with 89 and a score while quarterback Dak Prescott added three touchdowns on the ground. Through the air, he passed for 450 and 1 touchdown. His top targets were receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb who each had 100 yards with Lamb leading the way with 106 on six catches. Tight end Dalton Schultz had his first career touchdown on nine catches for 88 yards. Dallas went 7-of-13 on third downs, 0-of-2 on fourth.
Defensively the Cowboys took a step forward holding the Falcons to four field goals a couple with their backs to the wall and held star receiver, Julio Jones, to just two catches for 24 yards. On the day they allowed 22 first downs and 380 yards. With running back Todd Gurley II held to just 61 yards on 21 carries quarterback Matt Ryan powered the Falcons offense tossing four touchdowns along with 273 yards. Everson Griffen had the only sack for Dallas.
The comeback started in the third where the Cowboys outscored the Falcons 10-0 making it a 29-24 game entering the fourth. However, the Falcons came out swinging in the fourth scoring 10 straight before Schultz 10-yard touchdown and a failed two-point conversion with 4:57 left made it a nine-point game. After a stop, Prescott ran it in from a yard out after a huge 38-yard pass to Michael Gallup cutting the lead to two with 1:49 left.
After struggling with two failed fake punt attempts the Cowboys special teams unit came up big recovering kicker Greg Zuerlein’s onside kick after the Falcons stood and watched the ball past the 10-yard threshold. Prescott hit Lamb for a 24-yard gain setting up Zuerlein’s 46-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. It was Zuerlein’s ninth game-winning field goal.
Sitting at 1-1 the Cowboys look to continue their winning ways next week against the Seattle Seahawks.