ARLINGTON – Dak Prescott and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys kept their promise: they trained, played focused and as they know how, with intensity and solid execution to beat the Atlanta Falcones 43-3.
The Cowboys practically secured victory from the second quarter in a game in which they once again looked like the team that won six games in a row before losing surprisingly, at home, to the Denver Broncos, a result that raised questions about whether Dallas he was really a contender.
“We wanted to come back and win,” Prescott said emphatically after the victory over Atlanta. “We wanted to respond, put last week behind and learn from it, get as much as we could out of it and grow (…) to make sure we go out on the field and perform better and we did.”
In a game played at noon, the night went over early to the Falcons, who after a first offensive series of 52 yards that ended in a field goal and that scared more than one at AT&T Stadium by the fresh memory After the loss to the Broncos, they were dominated the rest of the way by the Cowboys on offense, defense and special teams.
The Cowboys (7-2) scored on four of their first five possessions, plus another touchdown after blocking a punt in the second quarter, scoring 29 points to go ahead at halftime with a score of 36- 3 and the triumph practically in the bag.
“It was important to take things day by day and focus on improving. We wanted to go out there and play fast and avoid the problems we had the week before (against Denver). Our defense stopped and we were able to put in some points, “added Prescott.
Scoring in his first offensive series was a confidence boost for an offense that had been silenced more than often by the Broncos. From that point on, the Falcons saw the best of coordinator Kellen Moore’s offensive variety and the execution of his players.
Prescott completed 23 of 31 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns, plus another per run in nearly three quarters, before being replaced by Cooper Rush early in the fourth quarter.
For his part, Ezekiel Elliott added a pair of touchdowns on the ground to lead the Cowboys’ running game, which totaled 114 yards without counting for the second consecutive week with left tackle Tyron Smith, whose replacement, Terence Steele, had a more than good against the Falcons.
“Everyone contributed. It was an excellent team win, ”said coach Mike McCarthy. “We had a lot of production and we dominated almost the entire first half. It’s great to see the locker room as it is right now, but we also have to mention the job coordinator (defensive Dan) Quinn did with the defense. Outstanding”.
The win was special for Quinn, who is in his first season as Dallas defensive coordinator, after working as the Falcons’ coach from 2015 to 2020 and guiding them to the Super Bowl in 2016.
Quinn’s defense had also exhibited a lack of preparation and intensity against Denver, but his performance contrasted against Atlanta despite the lack of defensive end Randy Gregory.
DeMarcus Lawrence’s backup Dorance Armstrong was in good shape, and also for the first time this season, defensive tackle Trysten Hill was involved, along with rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph.
“It’s good news when you have depth on the roster,” said Quinn, who received the match ball from McCarthy to the team member who contributed the most to the win. “The guys did a good job. We trust the players when it comes time to enter the field.
“Dorance Armstrong was a great example, not just on defense, but on special teams as well,” Quinn added, referring to the Falcons’ punting block.
The Cowboys defense limited Matt Ryana to just 117 yards through the air, his career-low total of at least 10 passes thrown, after completing just nine of 21 passes. Dallas’ top three cornerbacks intercepted a pass, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis and Trevon Diggs, the latter, to reach eight interceptions this season.
Rookie Micah Parsons had six sacks on the season and Quinn’s group stopped the Falcons at 214 total yards and just one first and 10 in 11 third downs.
“It all starts at the (line of scrimmage) and we control it on both sides of the ball and even on special teams. Our guys needed to drop the hammer and they did, ”McCarthy concluded.