Atlanta defensive end Adrian Clayborn wrecked the Dallas Cowboys’ Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
But he wasn’t alone.
Clayborn had a career-high six sacks, two forced fumbles and recovered a fumble in the Falcons’ 27-7 win over the Cowboys (5-4).
Clayborn overpowered Cowboys tackles Chaz Green in getting four sacks and later worked over Green’s replacement, Byron Bell, to add another.
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The Falcons (5-4) had 10 quarterback hurries, nine tackles for loss and eight sacks. Clayborn had three tackles for loss and seven hurries.
Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell had 13 tackles and one tackle for loss. Dontari Poe and Brooks Reed each added a sack.
“When we got in those passing situations, we couldn’t slow them down,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “They put heat on the quarterback all day long.”
Clayborn’s six sacks set a single-game Falcons record, topping the previous mark of five set by Chuck Smith on Oct. 12, 1997 and it tied for the second-most in a game since the individual sack became an official statitstic in 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas (seven on November 11, 1990) had more sacks in a single game.
Clayborn, who entered the game with two sacks this season, had three sacks in the first half. His sack of Dak Prescott late in the third quarter helped force a 38-yard field goal attempt by Mike Nugent, which bounced off the right upright no good.
Bell replaced Green with a little over 8 minutes remaining in the game. Green started in place of All-Pro Tyron Smith, who was out with back and groin injuries.
“Obviously, we miss Tyron. At the end of the day, we just couldn’t block them,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
Bell said Clayborn didn’t do anything special.
“Nothing. Really nothing. He had a good game and hats off to him,” Bells aid. “I played in this division. I know him. I played against Tampa, played against him when he was here. I did fine against him. It’s just, you know, he had a good game.”
Prescott completed 20 of 30 passes for 176 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for an 82.1 passer rating. He also rushed six times for a career-high 42 yards and a score.
The Cowboys host division-leading Philadelphia next week at AT&T Stadium.
“We’re not going to lose confidence off one game. We’re going to keep pushing, keep getting better,” Prescott said. “We’re excited for the challenges.”