A fourth-down pass breakup by cornerback Jourdan Lewis sparked a 29-0 run powering the Dallas Cowboys to a 43-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons. After last week’s offensive debacle against the Denver Broncos, the unit racked up 431 yards punting just one time in the first half. Defensively, a stifling pass rush made life tough for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan who tossed to interceptions in three quarters. Below are the four biggest takeaways from today’s win.
A week after getting shutout through three quarters, the Cowboys’ offense came out on fire, scoring on four of five first-half drives. Quarterback Dak Prescott rebounded as well, throwing for 296 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another. His top target on the day was CeeDee Lamb, who had six catches for 94 yards and two scores all in the first half. Perhaps most impressive of all was Dallas converting all three of their fourth-down attempts, one resulting in a Lamb touchdown. If the offense continues on this path, it will be hard to stop moving forward.
Controlling and Spreading the Wealth
In another case of flipping the script from last week, Dallas ran 20 more plays and had the ball for roughly 13 minutes longer than the Falcons. This allowed the defense to stay fresh and wear the Falcons defense down. In doing so, 10 players caught a pass for Dallas a season-high. Outings like this have become a staple of success for the unit under coordinator Kellen Moore and need to continue moving forward.
Last season’s collapse spelled the end for Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in Atlanta. Today his unit turned in the best outing of the season, holding the Falcons to just 214 yards while all three starting corners recorded an interception. Ryan finished just nine of 21 passing for 117 yards and two picks getting sacked twice. Adding insult to injury, backup quarterback Josh Rosen’s first pass was an interception as well. Rookie linebacker/end Micah Parsons boosted his odds for defensive rookie of the year, leading the way with six tackles, one for loss and a sack. With both starting end Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory out, Dorrance Armstrong stepped up in a big way notching a sack and blocking a punt resulting in a touchdown. Efforts like this are why this unit ranks among the league’s best and needs to continue as the season rolls on.
Offense, defense, and special teams all came to play, resulting in the most dominant win of the season. Outside of the blocked punt, Lamb nearly broke a few punt returns for longer gains. Offensively the offensive line dominated up front keeping Prescott clean, allowing no sacks and very few hits. Defensively, the pass rush was relentless all game, resulting in three interceptions and a forced fumble that was recovered by Atlanta. While it’s highly unlikely Dallas continues to beat teams by 30-40 points, strong outings across the board moving forward would help make sure games like last week don’t happen. How they follow this up is something to watch next week when they hit the road taking on the Kansas City Cheifs.