It was an unexpected and disappointing result for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon on the road vs the Atlanta Falcons. They took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter after a Matt Ryan interception, but couldn't do anything else the rest of the way.
It's clear that this team seriously misses Tyron Smith at left tackle and as much as they missed Ezekiel Elliott, they missed Smith waaaaaaaay more. I don't mean to pile onto Cowboys Nation with a loss still fresh, but I also can't figure a Cowboy into this week's 3 Stars of the Game.
Star 1 – ATL DE Adrian Clayborn
Adrian Clayborn has only two seasons in his seven-year career when he recorded more than five sacks.
Against the Dallas Cowboys Clayborn recorded six sacks, forced two fumbles, and recovered a fumble.
Chaz Green couldn't do anything to slow the Falcons defensive end as he set an Atlanta Falcons franchise record. Byron Bell took over for Green in the fourth quarter and struggled to slow Clayborn as well.
Star 2 – ATL RB Tevin Coleman
The Dallas Cowboys defense had been playing pretty good against the run the last several weeks. During their three game winning streak they'd only allowed opponents to rush for an average of 73.33 yards per game.
Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman carried the ball 20 times for 83 yards and a touchdown. As a whole, the Atlanta Falcons' running backs ran for 132 yards.
After Devonta Freeman went out of the game early with a concussion, it looked like Dallas would have an edge in the run game. Then when Sean Lee went out, Coleman looked to be able to pick up big chunks at times. This helped Atlanta set up the play action pass, which was a killer for Dallas in the second half.
Star 3 – ATL QB Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan looked a lot more like his 2016 self than he did his 2017 self.
Aside from an early interception on a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Xavier Woods, the Falcons quarterback had a really good day.
He completed 75.86% of his passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Not stellar, but good. When Ryan needed to pick up a third down, he was able to find his guy. He was efficient and made the plays that were there for him to make en route to a convincing conference win.
Early on, it looked like the Dallas defense was going to find some success against Matt Ryan, but as the game wore on and Atlanta pulled out to a comfortable lead, he was able to have his way with the Cowboys defense.
Honorable Mention – DAL QB Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott didn't have a great game. The stats won't look great, but he showed a lot of heart and resiliency throughout the game after he was hit time and again.
He didn't get a lot of help from the left side of his offensive line and even Zack Martin allowed a sack.
Throughout the game, Dak Prescott was able to buy time, as was necessary, and kept making plays into the fourth quarter.
✭ ✭ ✭
Up next for the Dallas Cowboys is a date with NFC and divisional leader Philadelphia Eagles. Hopefully Tyron Smith will be healthy by then, otherwise it could be another long day for the offense.