The depleted Dallas Cowboys had breakdowns in all phases in the game and as a direct result, they didn’t pass the test in Atlanta.
The loss drops the Cowboys to 5-4. Next up are the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles.
RUN OFFENSE: D The Cowboys had 107 yards on 21 carries without Elliott. That’s 5.1 yards per carry. But the running game was not good enough and not effective enough. Quarterback Dak Prescott had six carries for 42 yards to skew the numbers. Alfred Morris rushed for 53 yards on 11 carries, but two carries went for 34 yards. Outside of that, he didn’t get much done. Darren McFadden had one carry for -2 yards. Rod Smith had three carries for 14 yards.
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PASS OFFENSE: F Prescott was sacked eight times in the game, including six times by defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who exploited Chaz Green and Byron Bell at left tackle in place of Smith. Prescott completed 20 of 30 passes for 176 yards. Jason Witten led the way with seven catches for 59 yards, but it was too little, too late.
RUN DEFENSE: D The Falcons rushed 34 times for 132 yards. The numbers don’t look at impressive, but it proved to be a wear-down factor for the Cowboys defense once linebacker Sean Lee left the field in the first quarter, as 92 of the yards came in the second half.
PASS DEFENSE: D Matt Ryan was an efficient 22 of 29 for 215 yards with two touchdowns. Xavier Woods got a tipped interception early in the first quarter. Outside of that, Ryan was flawless because he had too much time to throw and the secondary made few plays on the Falcons pass catchers. Julio Jones was a chain-moving mismatch with six catches for 57 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C Chris Jones continues to excel on punts. He averaged 42.8 yards per kick and had two downed inside the 20. It should have been three, but the coverage team let it go into the end zone. Ryan Switzer continues to be a mystery on returns, making questionable decisions on kickoffs and punts. Mike Nugent missed a field goal.
COACHING: F The Cowboys waited too long to get Chaz Green out of the game. The offense and play-calling had no chance while he was in there. The defense has to find a way to compete without Lee. That is also on the coaching staff and front office for not having a suitable backup.