These 2012 Dirty Birds sure do know how to close games.
In a low-scoring affair in which neither team scored a touchdown until the 4th quarter, the Falcons were able to make enough plays late in the game to extend their win streak to 8-0. This was also a game of milestones, as both Roddy White and Jason Witten broke their team’s franchise record for receptions. For most of the game, it was a battle of the bend-but-don’t-break defenses, but in the end the Falcons had too many weapons for Dallas to match up with one-on-one. Matt Ryan had about as good a performance a QB could have against a top-3 pass defense. He ended Sunday night with 342 yards passing with no touchdowns nor turnovers.
Keep in mind that this is the same defense that Eli Manning couldn’t put up 200 passing yards against…
Dallas’s defense played well for most of the game. The Falcons O-line struggled against Demarcus Ware and Co. for a couple of quarters, and Ware even got a clean shot on Ryan on a play where he ran past Baker and Jacquizz completely untouched. The crowd went quiet after Matt was slammed to the turf, but Ryan showed his toughness by brushing the hit off and finishing the game. For the majority of the game, Matt Ryan and the offense struggled to find their rhythm against Rob Ryan’s defense, and even though Roddy White and Julio Jones were able to make some big plays, the Falcons offense went stagnant when they got in the redzone. Most of the game was a battle between kickers Matt Bryant and Dan Bailey.
In other words, the game was a snorefest.
The game could’ve gone either way, but the football gods have been in the Falcons favor lately this season. Turner, who had trouble getting going in the first-half and early second-half, broke a 43-yard run before the end the third quarter, and finished the 81-yard drive with a 3-yard run for the first touchdown of the game. You have to give credit for the job Rob did against one of the most potent offenses in the league. If not for Turner and Jacquizz getting going late, the Falcons could’ve been dealt their first loss Sunday night. Not too long after the touchdown, the Cowboys began to play with a sense of urgency… After a Cowboys three-and-out and another Falcons field goal, Tony Romo and offense responded their best drive of the night. He turned the tempo up by switching to a hurry-up and shredded Mike Nolan’s defense, capping the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Ogletree with little time left.
Matt Ryan and co. figured it was time to put the dagger in Cowboys.
Matt Ryan orchestrated a 12-play drive that milked five minutes and four seconds off the clock, leaving Romo with seventeen seconds to perform some kind of miracle to get into the endzone…
Romo didn’t receive a blessing that night.
The Falcons defense played well Sunday night. The defense didn’t let Jones or Dunbar get going in the run game, which put pressure on Romo to win the game by himself. Mike Nolan unveiled 4-3 package that had three defensive tackles along with Kroy Biermann that kept the Cowboys O-line from getting any push to open up running lanes for their RB’s. Jonathan Babineaux and Stephen Nicholas performances stood out. Jonathan was the first in the back field on many of the Cowboys run plays while Stephen held Romo’s BFF Jason Witten to only seven catches. Dunta Robinson’s performance stood out for the wrong reason, mainly for letting Ogletree slip past his zone for a huge bomb, stop peeking in the backfield Robinson…
Falcons won the game 13-19, and went on to record their 8th straight win, while the Cowboys went home with their second straight loss. I’m sure Jerry Jones is disappointed with how streaky his team has been since the opener, maybe they will find the spark they need against the Eagles. The Falcons, on the other hand, head to the Mercedes-Benz dome to face a Saints squad that feels they have the spark needed to knock us off our undefeated throne, even with their bottom-ranked defense. Stay tuned for the preview.