Well, how do you like them apples?
After a disappointing showing last week against the Denver Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys did a complete 180 in a 43-3 dismantling of the Atlanta Falcons. The offense was on fire, the defense was on fire, and the special teams unit was on fire.
The Cowboys came out firing with an eight-play, 73-yard drive to go up 7-0 right out of the gate. It was the beginning of what would be an onslaught of scoring by the Cowboys as they put together a 36-3 trouncing by halftime. The Cowboys offense had one stall out in the first half and had to punt, but outside of that, it was all touchdowns.
Dak Prescott started a little off with a couple of bad throws, one of which could have resulted in a pick-six, but then was fantastic. His reads were great, the footwork was there, and he calmly stayed in the pocket and delivered great throws. The Cowboys' protection was good and it set the stage for a big performance by the offense. In the first half alone, Prescott was 18 of 23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He ended the day 24 of 31 for 296 yards with two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground.
CeeDee Lamb was the receiving star of the day. He finished the day with six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Gallup also had a successful return to the offense except for one drop.
Defensively, the Cowboys were equally impressive. Despite allowing the Falcons to put together an eight-play, 58-yard drive on their opening possession that resulted in a field goal, the defense clamped down and only allowed a net total of 13 yards the remainder of the first half. The Cowboys outgained the Falcons 265 to 77 yards in the first half.
The tackling was much better as they weren’t giving up yards after contact like they were last week. Even more pleasing was how well the defensive backs were closing on plays. Several times in the game the defensive back got to the ball just in the nick of time forcing an incompletion. Safety Jayron Kearse made a huge break up on third down on the Falcons opening drive, and Jourdan Lewis had a nice sequence of back-to-back pass breakups that resulted in a turnover of downs for the Falcons.
Even the special teams were getting in on the party. Right before the end of the first half, Dorance Armstrong penetrated through the middle and blocked a punt that helped put the Cowboys up 36-3 by halftime.
Going for it on fourth down was the theme of the game early as both teams weren’t afraid to pull the trigger when they moved the ball into their opponents' territory. The difference was the Cowboys were converting, the Falcons weren’t. Head coach Mike McCarthy stayed true to his aggressive nature and we saw the positive effect when the team actually executes.
The Cowboys used the second half to coast somewhat. They turned a Trevon Diggs interception into a touchdown on a Dak Prescott run on fourth down. The Cowboys and McCarthy continued to go for it on fourth down, something they do with regularity now. Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis both had interceptions, while Elliott lost a fumble.
The Cowboys started subbing players early in the fourth quarter, and held Lamb out with a minor arm contusion. Prescott, Elliott and Zack Martin, among others, were pulled after the score reached 43-3. The rest was just running out the clock and trying to keep players healthy.
As bad as things were last week, they were that good this week. The Cowboys rebounded with a dominating blowout of the Falcons. Just what they needed.
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