Believe it or not, the Atlanta Falcons are 3-0. Despite trailing by 11 points at the half, Dan Quinn’s team rallied to overcome the Dallas Cowboys 39-28. Running back Devonta Freeman, filling in for an injured Tevin Coleman, was outstanding, rushing 30 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns.
It truly was a game of two halves. Dallas flew out of the gates with a heavy dose of the run, and Atlanta had no answer for Joseph Randle running behind a dominant offensive line. A bunch of missed tackles and big yardage gains for the Cowboys later and it looked like the Falcons were going to leave Texas after crashing firmly back down to earth.
Now I don’t know what Coach Quinn said to his players at halftime, but he seemed to flip a switch on defense. After scoring four rushing touchdowns in the opening half, the Cowboys didn’t put up a single point in the final two quarters.
On offense, a unit that had put in a solid performance, switched it up a gear to elite. Midway through the third quarter trailing 28-17, Matt Ryan fired to Julio Jones on third-and-3 for a 45-yard touchdown. Tight end Levine Toilolo was there to convert the 2-point try. 28-25, and the ballgame is on.
The Falcons defense stepped up again, shutting down the run and placing the fate of the Cowboys offense in Brandon Weeden’s hands. Dallas had to punt and the momentum was completely with the visitors.
At this point, we were welcomed to the Devonta and Julio show, and the Cowboys had no answer. Freeman was running at ease and he Falcons were utlizing the play-action to hit Jones. Freeman ran in a 7-yard touchdown and the Falcons had completed the comeback.
The Cowboys needed to swing the momentum of the game, but were forced to punt after just three plays. What happened from this point on proved how important a strong run game is, and why offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is committed to running the football. The Falcons ran 11 plays for 62 yards, importantly draining 6:14 off the clock and capping it off with a game-sealing touchdown.
Quinn’s team never give up, and they fought from behind once again to win. This was meant to be the toughest stretch on the schedule for this team, but they have fought to 3-0 and look the real deal. Next up, Houston.