Tom sums it perfectly: ‘It was injuries, not the suspension, that really killed the Cowboys.’
Almost the Cowboys certainly missed Elliott, they missed Tyron Smith even more. Chaz Green, trying to fill in for him, was simply overwhelmed repeatedly by Adrian Clayborn, who repeatedly snuffed out Dallas drives. Clayborn would have six sacks by the time the game ended, one a strip sack late in the game. The relentless pressure, including a lot of hits and close escapes, made it basically impossible for the passing game to get going. The Dallas coaching staff finally realized it was not working, and put Byron Bell in for him. It appeared to be an improvement in pass protection, and one that might have had an effect if made earlier. As it turned out, it was too little, too late, and Bell would give up a sack on what was the last gasp for the Cowboys with 4:12 left in the game as well as the strip sack, putting a final nail in what was a lost cause already. The Falcons would get nine total sacks by the end of the game, and that is almost impossible for any offense to overcome.
Just as badly missed was Sean Lee, who re-injured his hamstring and missed the last three quarters of the game. All the Falcons’ points came after he left the game
Wherever Ezekiel Elliott watched the Dallas Cowboys' 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, it had to be painful.
It had to be painful for Tyron Smith, the All-Pro left tackle who did not play because of a groin strain, to watch as well.
And it was absolutely painful for Sean Lee, who watched all but one full drive from the sideline because of a hamstring strain.
The Cowboys live with a next-man-up philosophy, like most teams, but the next-man on Sunday wasn’t good enough. Not even close.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Cowboys played their first game without Ezekiel Elliott, who’s been suspended for the next six games, and it was a disaster. They didn’t run the ball with any success until the third quarter, which meant their offense had no rhythm. More important, the Cowboys struggled to mount any offense without left tackle Tyron Smith, who missed the game with a strained groin. In his place Chaz Green gave up a club-record five sacks to defensive end Adrian Claiborne. Now, the Cowboys have to figure out how to re-group and beat Philadelphia and stay in the NFC East race.
Daniels writes up on the disappointing performance.
As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Actually, the Dallas Cowboys probably were already well aware of it, but in losing handily to the Atlanta Falcons, 27-7, it was a stark reminder of what happens when you’re missing some of your best players.
Indeed, this game seemed to be more about who wasn’t playing for the Cowboys rather than who was actually on the field.
Machota gives his five thoughts after the game. The Cowboys desperately need Tyron Smith.
2. Left tackle woes
It's safe to say Tyron Smith's absence was felt more than in just the running game. Filling in for Smith at left tackle was Chaz Green. It was a day Green would probably like to forget.
Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn entered Sunday's game with two sacks in eight games. He finished with five sacks going against Green. That's a record. No player has ever had five sacks in one game against the Cowboys in franchise history.
Green was pulled in the fourth quarter. Byron Bell entered and played the final 8:18. He didn't play much better, allowing Clayborn to notch his sixth sack of the day.
It doesn’t get any easier.
5. Philly's waiting
What's up next for the Cowboys? The hottest team in the league. Next Sunday, Dallas hosts a Philadelphia team that has won its last seven. Play how they did Sunday and the Cowboys will be blown out. More importantly, it'll basically end any chance of winning the division.
Frankly, without Elliott and Bailey and possibly Lee and Smith for the next few weeks, the wild card is probably the only way the Cowboys could make the playoffs. Pretty wild how quickly things change week to week in the NFL.
Dave gives his winners and losers. Yeah, Green was downright terrible, but Dave takes it a step further:
Cowboys offensive brain-trust - How they couldn’t figure out they needed to give Chaz Green help in the game was criminal. Adrian Clayborn basically wrecked the Cowboys offense by himself. It’s incomprehensible that they couldn’t figure out any way to compensate for Green’s shortcomings.
Dak showed off some bright spots when he had time to make plays.
Dak Prescott’s legs - Without his efforts running the ball, scoring a touchdown, and avoiding the rush, this would have been even worse.
Zeke was definitely not the biggest loss on Sunday.
On Sunday against the Falcons, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott sat out the first game of a six-game suspension. Certainly Dallas would have fared better against Atlanta with their fantastic running back on the field, but Elliott’s absence was nowhere close to being the main reason why the Cowboys dropped to 5–4 in their 27–7 loss.
All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith missed the game due to back and groin injuries, and his replacement, Chaz Green, struggled mightily throughout the game. Adrian Clayborn will likely be the NFC Defensive Player of the Week thanks to Green, who let the Falcons’ defensive end beat him early and often—tallying up a franchise-record six sacks, to be exact—until Jason Garrett decided Green couldn’t be on the field any longer.
DP gives his thoughts on the game.
1. Get well soon, Tyron!
Not having Smith to protect Dak Prescott’s blind side turned out to be a big problem for the Cowboys offense. Play after play, Chaz Green would allow Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn to blow right past him. It takes both hands to tell you how many sacks Clayborn would have on the day. That’s right - he would finish with six sacks! I can’t remember a time where a tackle would play so atrociously and allow that much pressure. Neither could Troy Aikman and he spent the better part of his rookie season on his back.
Prescott came into the game with only 10 sacks on the season, but that number almost doubled as the Falcons would finish with eight sacks on the day. Green would eventually get benched as the team opted to go with Byron Bell. Why did they wait so long?
Chaz Green was awful. Dreadful. Troy Aikman called him out on it and didn’t hold back.
Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman wasn't impressed with the Cowboys line performance.
"That's a pretty embarrassing play," he said of one sack Green allowed Clayborn. "That's about as bad as I've seen someone get beat in all my years watching football."
ADRIAN CLAYBORN CAN'T BE STOPPED pic.twitter.com/J6oprWw2Eg— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 12, 2017
Clayborn had his way with Green on Sunday, and he even set a franchise record. Yeah.
The seventh-year defensive end scorched Cowboys backup left tackle Chaz Green and registered six sacks on Dak Prescott, the most in a single game in Falcons franchise history. Entering Sunday’s game, Clayborn had recorded six sacks over the course of an entire season just once in his previous six years.
Clayborn finished the game with six sacks, seven hits on the quarterback, three tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He now has a career-high eight sacks this year.
Hate to pile on, but ...
This will forever be remembered as the Chaz Green game. Filling in for an injured Tyron Smith at left tackle, the Cowboys' former third-round pick gave up five sacks to Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn in a 27-7 loss. Clayborn added one more sack and his second forced fumble of the game against Green's fourth-quarter replacement, Byron Bell. It was a disgusting display that prompted Cowboys Hall of Famer Troy Aikman to say at one point, "That's about as bad as I've seen anyone get beat in a football game in all my years of watching football."
The head coach talks about the loss.
Jason Garrett says the Cowboys allowed too much pressure on Dak Prescott to win and adds that the team needs to have a "next-man-up philosophy" in the absence of several important players.
My favorite from Sunday: Cole Beasley backs up his quarterback.
Howard Eskin, an ignorant radio host in Philadelphia of all places, decided to voice his opinion on Dak, which could not be further from the truth. If you watched the game, you know that Dak had zero time to make things happen. When he did have time, though, he typically did make the plays.
Here is what Eskin tweeted:
The #cowboys have real problems as we saw in loss to #falcons. Without RB Zeke Elliott QB Dak Prescott is not that special. As it turns out Jerry Jones should have let Elliott take his suspension early in the season. #eagles next Sunday night. @SportsRadioWIP— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) November 13, 2017
But, you don’t come after Dak Prescott without the Sauce Daddy coming to the support of his guy:
This is the dumbest shit I've ever heard. Dak is that dude. https://t.co/bnlUlYsWkV— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) November 13, 2017
I didn't know the dude was from philly. Don't care honestly. Nobody is about to discredit my quarterback who has done nothin but ball since he stepped through the door.— Cole Beasley (@Bease11) November 13, 2017
This perfectly sums up my thoughts: