It was not a pretty game but the Atlanta Falcons stayed true to who they are against the Dallas Cowboys. In other words, they did what they needed to do to get a 19-13 win over Tony Romo and the Cowboys.
In a game that was filled with missed opportunities from both teams, the Falcons did what they needed to do, while the Cowboys were to answer a series of questions. Questions such as:
What if those two first half field goals had been touchdowns instead? What if we go into halftime with the lead instead of tied? What if we convert more than three third downs the whole game? What if Orlando Scandrick tackles Jacquizz Rodgers short of the first down on a key play? Where did Michael Turner come from?
These are questions that will not get answers. Dallas will once again have to wonder what might have been. Time after time, throughout the game the Cowboys missed tackles, touchdowns, and eventually ran out of time. The opportunities were there even until the end of the game and yet America’s team could not get it down.
Falcons’ kicker, Matt Bryant even helped Dallas out by uncharacteristically missing two relatively easy field goals. The Dallas defense got pressure when they needed to and for a half control Atlanta’s running game. It was, in fact, the running game that ended up making the difference for Atlanta. The Falcons made big plays in the passing game but none of them resulted in touchdowns. It was Turner who scored Atlanta’s lone touchdown and ultimately wore the Cowboys defense down.
It was my expectation that Dallas would play a tough game. Their backs were against the wall, the media was all over them and the New York Giants has lost earlier that day. My belief was is if the Falcons could manage to get at least 100 yards out of Turner, then they would win. It was a stretch because Atlanta has been struggling to run the ball and Dallas is pretty decent against it. Turner finished the game with 102 yards on 20 carries and guess what…the Falcons won.
With the win, Atlanta improved to 8-0, something only 14 other teams have done since the NFL expanded to 16 games in 1978. Nine of those ended up in the Super Bowl and six of them hoisted the Vince Lombardi trophy. The fact remains though that the Falcons play better on the road than at home. Should they lose a regular season game, it will probably be at home. Nevertheless, no matter where they are, Atlanta finds ways to win. Against Dallas, they went back to their old formula of simply using the running game to control the clock. Speaking of clocks, the Cowboys are running out of time to save their season. Meanwhile, Atlanta is setting their sights on home field advantage.