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Game Notes

ATL 27 DAL 7: Injuries Plague Cowboys In Embarrassing Loss

Kevin Brady

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Dak Prescott gave it everything he had today, but he and the Dallas Cowboys simply had no chance.

After a fantastic play by Anthony Brown forced an Xavier Woods interception, Prescott ran it in from a few yards out to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. Atlanta quickly cut it to 7-3, where the score would hold for much of the first half.

But as the injuries piled up for the Cowboys, and they were left without Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, and Ezekiel Elliott, they had no answers for the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn sacked Prescott six times, each time after beating replacement left tackles Chaz Green and Byron Bell. There is no way to sugar coat it, Green was awful today. On most snaps he offered little resistance, and put Prescott at risk of injury on every play. When Bell came in for relief, he was just as bad.

With the hits piling up and Prescott having no chance, the Cowboys offense struggled to score just 7 points. If not for the early interception, the Cowboys might have been shut out today.

As putrid as the offense was, the defense was no better. With Sean Lee out after just a few minutes, the Falcons exploited the Cowboys' weak linebackers. Atlanta ran and passed the ball with ease en route to 27 points.

Dallas now falls to 5-4, and considering how good the rest of the NFC has been, will have difficulty getting into the playoffs. The next few games are critical to the Cowboys if they hope to make any type of run into January.

Next week, the Cowboys will face the 8-1 division leading Philadelphia Eagles. And if both Tyron Smith and Sea Lee are out once again, it's hard to imagine a scenario where this goes well for the Cowboys.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

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8 Comments
  • Michael Barthel

    You are absolutely right. This team is terrible. The coaching staff should of pulled chaz green after first half he was terrible injuries and his play he should be released right now he is not capable of starting in this league. Every damn game we worry about lee and when he goes out there goes the chance of winning that’s pathetic. Jaylon Smith looks lost and confused every play. Anthony Brown gets beaten way too much. I blame the coaching staff for this lost they did not have this team ready to play with 2 of their best players sidelined with a 3rd before halftime. They did not adjust anything at all. Marinelli needs fired like now we as fans are getting sick of this. Garrett almost every week when a key player goes down is getting out coached. Without zeke lee and Smith Dallas is awful. Since Jerry doesn’t want to spend money to help out the damn defense looks like Dallas will continue to have a porous defense. If it wasn’t for dominating bad teams this team could be in very bad shape. If Smith and lee don’t play next week look out cuz dak will get sacked more than 9 times. For one guy to sack dak 6 times by himself is sickening. Green needs to be cut like right now cuz he is one of the worse lineman I have ever seen in my life. Dallas screwed up taking him in the 3rd round

    • Michael Barthel

      That’s Jerry for you though messing up picks and putting this defense in bad spots every single year. Brown is not ready to be a starter at corner. Lewis was beaten alot today too. If Garrett and marinelli return next year I think I’m done watching them cuz they are both terrible and have no reason to be coaching NFL teams. We had a easy schedule last year that’s why Garrett won coach of the year. Still our defense wasn’t very good against bad teams last year. This year has shown fans that were getting sick of this well were miissing 3 of our best players so we’re not that good. No NFL left tackle should give up 6 sacks to a defensive end that is not that very good

      • Michael Barthel

        I mean Williams is inconsistent one game has 9 catches 141 yards then completely disappears. Dak tried to do everything he could but without Smith this offensive line isn’t that good. That’s sad considering we still have Martin Frederick and Collins. Dez started off good then disappeared. Zeke gone we have no offense. Morris didn’t start going until 3rd quarter but then green gets called for holding then gives up a sack. I don’t think Dallas can win games without lee Smith and zeke. I had alot of faith before this game that they could but every analyst said they would be lost without them and they completely were. Defense is lost when lee leaves or isn’t playing. Offensive line can’t block without Smith. Running game can’t go without zeke. Morris said we will be okay with him how our running game didn’t look the same as the past 3 games with 130 yards a game. Our receivers didn’t step up and help dak. Witten disappeared. Everyone on the offense disappeared after the first quarter. Very hard to make playoffs now. We need a high pick to help this defense and get a better swing tackle and backup tackle cuz this game looked terrible and they got dominated in every aspect of the game. I understand you can’t win them all but good teams don’t get completely blown out like we have against Denver who is bad themselves and Atlanta who couldn’t buy offensive help

        • Michael Barthel

          I will say thought that the refs completely screwed us this game. 2 receivers knocked down twice no call. I have never heard of grabbing helmet by ear hole a 15 yard penalty. Everytime Dallas got going they called us for something. Atlanta got maybe 2 penalties Dallas had double digits c’mon man that’s ridiculous. Refs ruin games every week. Wouldn’t of made a huge difference but would of extended alot of drives for Dallas. How many face mask did they miss against Atlanta they missed alot of calls on Atlanta but caught every single call for dallas

    • MD

      Oh stop with the over reaction. They are not terrible but not special or playoff run worthy without injured starters like most teams. That said today’s game was another example of Garett’s inability to make in game adjustments. They are usually fine playing with a lead but having to make adjustments is something he has never really done well. Green was horrific today but it’s obvious the coaching staff should have schemed better to give him help. In all honesty Tyron Smith has been pretty bad this year also. Because of the back issues he just can’t hold his ground in pass protection hence the number of holding calls. I think Jaylon Smith was a nice story but it appears he just doesn’t have it right now to be anything more than a situational player at best let alone an every down player which he will have to be if Lee is absent for an extended period. With all of this adversity a win against the Eagles will put them back on the right track. I said 11-5/10-6 this year. They are capable of going 5-2 the rest of they way. Let’s hope Garrett and the coaching staff can solve some of these problems by next Sunday Night…….

      • Michael Barthel

        I see the only wins without zeke will be the chargers giants and skins. So yeah maybe 10-6 is right but I don’t think that will be good enough for a playoff berth. Falcons and green bay both have wins against us and they both in my opinion have a easier schedule. I think Dallas finishes 7th best in nfc. Wish that wasn’t true but I just don’t see Dallas winning much without them. Say what u will but even with Tyron smith hurt playing is better than chaz green 100% healthy. Smith has given up holding calls yes but he doesn’t give up 6 sacks to one guy that isn’t even that good. Smith is the best left tackle in the game and it was proven tonight. With him Dallas has given up 10 sacks in 8 games. Without Smith we gave up 9. Lee being out kills us at any chance of winning games cuz the defense is completely lost and terrible without lee

  • Russ_Te

    Aikman said he’s never seen pass blocking as bad as Green’s today, or something to that effect. And Aikman absorbed an 11-sack nightmare as a rookie against Philadelphia.

    I think Dallas fans figured the offense was still good with Morris or Smith or McFadden at RB. To see it all unravel because there’s no depth at OT, is pretty deflating.

    Aside from Garrett coaching another stinker like he did in Denver, it’s worrisome for the season and also for how long Tyron Smith can play football. Once the back injuries start, as we’ve seen, it’s usually deterioration from there. So the new draft priority might be OT and not RDE.

    It may prove to not be, but this season looks over now – play subs more to see who emerges and to get the highest pick possible.

    Garrett opened the game with the same predictability as he did in Denver – hand off on 1st downs. If that gets stuffed on the road, it throws off multiple bad effects that can set the tone for the entire game. He seems oblivious to that.

    He lets a player who can change defensive alignments, Butler, sit on the bench most downs.
    Worst is: how many sacks does Green have to give up before you get him help or bench him? Garrett went well into the 3rd quarter before visible alteration was made with Green.

    Then on that 3rd & 19 on the Atlanta 21, Garrett throws a screen that isn’t going to get 19 or score. That is a call for 2nd and very long, not 3rd. On 3rd & 19 from there, you throw it into the end zone, or dump it off as a last option. You roll Dak right to get away from Clayborn, and try to get 7. Instead Garrett calls a cave-in screen to set up a FG to trim the Atlanta lead to 17-10.

    He deserved to miss the FG.

  • tjones122

    The offense never got in a rhythm ala Chaz greenbrier think the offense will be fine. The defense was just starting to turn the corner and lee gets hurt. Why didnt we go after daryl Washington or bowman again?

Game Notes

Ezekiel Elliott’s Excellence Elevates Cowboys in Road Win

John Williams

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Cowboys en Español: El Reto VS Texans, Porque Bryant No Volverá

For the first time this season the Dallas Cowboys have won back to back games moving to 5-5 on the year with a 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in a game that they had to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The defense was the story for most of the game, forcing the Atlanta Falcons to kick four field goals before allowing the game-tying touchdown with less than two minutes to play. The offense had trouble getting going until they leaned heavily on their star running back, Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott, who went over the 200 total yard mark for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career was dominant in the second half, getting hard-fought yards en route to his fifth 100 yard game of the season.

Elliott averaged 5.3 yards per carry, on 23 carries, but was also the leading receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott on the day caught seven passes on eight targets for 79 yards as well.

The Cowboys first touchdown drive was reminiscent of who the Dallas Cowboys were in 2016. That season, and seemingly rarely since, the Cowboys would go on these long 10-15 play drives in the second half of games and take control of the game.

On Sunday in Atlanta, they did it again.

Trailing 6-3 in the second half with the defense playing an excellent game, the Cowboys went on a 14 play drive for 75 yards that took nearly eight minutes off the clock. It was a huge drive to give the Cowboys a lead and to give their defense a much deserved rest.

On that drive, Ezekiel Elliott saw the ball seven times and set the tone picking up several first downs that helped set up Dak Prescott's four yard touchdown run that took the lead. After Leighton Vander Esch's interception on the ensuing drive, Elliott once again made a huge impact taking the ball twice for 31 yards including the 28 yard touchdown run that put the Cowboys up 19-9 with a little more than 12 minutes to play in the game. And on the final drive of the game, Ezekiel Elliott caught a pass and picked up a first down just inside Falcons territory.

Over the last two weeks, you can see a big difference in the effectiveness of the run game. Elliott spoke about Amari Cooper being one reason they've had more success in the run game.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Ezekiel Elliott on Amari Cooper: "It's just one more guy they have to worry about. It seems like he kind of was the missing piece, just because when he got here this offense started rolling. It's great having him. He's a phenomenal player. He's going to have a great future here.

Amari Cooper's presence is a big reason for the offense and you can tell they've been a more complete offense the last two weeks. The addition of Cooper puts more stress on a defense in the passing game. Like Elliott said, he's a player that has to be accounted for, making his and the offensive line's jobs easier.

The play of the offensive line has also been really good the last two weeks since Marc Colombo took over as offensive line coach and coincidentally Xavier Su'a-Filo was inserted into the starting lineup for an injured Connor Williams.

Whatever the reason, Ezekiel Elliott seems to be on an upward trajectory.

Ezekiel Elliott is now averaging 129.4 total yards per game, which sits right at his career average heading into the 2018 season. He's on pace for 1,524 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 545 receiving yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns. The touchdown totals are down from his career pace, but he's still on pace for 2,000 total yards this season. If the last two weeks are any indications, that pace could see a huge bump in the second half of the season.

NFL Research on Twitter

Since entering the NFL, Ezekiel Elliott has: * 17 games with 100+ rush yards * 24 games with 100+ scrimmage yards * 4 games with 200+ scrimmage yards * 3,567 rush yards The one similarity between these numbers? Elliott leads the NFL in each since 2016 #Cowboys

If you needed a singular note to tell you how great Elliott's been for the Dallas Cowboys, that's the one. It's amazing that Elliott leads the league in all of those categories including rushing yards considering he sat out six games last season and had a game where he rushed for only eight yards against the Denver Broncos in week two of 2017.

And then there’s this one.

NFL345 on Twitter

@dallascowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott had 201 scrimmage yards and a TD in the team's Week 11 victory. Elliott (4,540 scrimmage yards & 32 TDs) became the third player in @NFL history with 4,500+ scrimmage yards & 30+ TDs in their first 35 career games.

The two other players to accomplish that feat were Eric Dickerson and Edgerin James. That’s some legendary company.

Ezekiel Elliott is a big-time player for the Dallas Cowboys and someone who they can lean on the rest of the season. If the Cowboys are going to make the playoffs it will be because the run game continued to play at a high level, which opened everything else up for the offense. While many people will tell you that running backs don't matter, Ezekiel Elliott certainly proved on Sunday that he matters.

And if you watch opposing defenses on Sunday's, they act like Elliott matters. Like Sunday, Ezekiel Elliott will continue to be a threat each week and big things are coming for him and the Dallas Cowboys.


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Game Notes

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Atlanta

Brian Martin

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Atlanta

It may not have been very pretty, but the Dallas Cowboys were able to keep their playoff hopes alive by defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday afternoon. It's a place that wasn't kind to them a season ago, but they were able to overcome their demons and secure a much-needed victory.

This is a game that ended up being a lot closer than it probably needed to be. Missed opportunities and mental mistakes once again plagued this Cowboys team, but they continued to scratch and claw their way in a hostile environment to put another "W" in the win column.

With the game still fresh in our minds, I thought it would be a good time to share with you what I believed was The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons. As always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comment section located at the end of the article.

The Good

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott

It should come to no surprise after the way he's played these last couple weeks, but I decided to go with Running Back Ezekiel Elliott for the good this week for the Dallas Cowboys. I could have easily gone with Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch because he was definitely deserving as well, but for me Zeke edged him out by a narrow margin.

Ezekiel Elliott put the team on his back Sunday afternoon and led them to a victory, just like he did a week ago against the Philadelphia Eagles. He pretty much was the Cowboys offense yesterday, accounting for more than 200 total yards by himself. He not only finished the game as the leading rusher with 122 yards on the ground and a touchdown, but the leading receiver as well with seven catches for 79 yards.

Zeke has been absolutely dominating here recently and hopefully he can keep it up with the division rival Washington Redskins coming to town on Thanksgiving. It's a game that will likely determine the outcome of the NFC East division.

The Bad

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

He may have made the game-winning field goal, but Kicker Brett Maher's inconsistency here lately is the bad this week for the Dallas Cowboys in my opinion. His missed extra point attempt against the Falcons came very close to costing them the victory, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few kickers brought in Monday on a tryout basis.

Over the past several years we've kind of been spoiled by having Dan Bailey, one of the most accurate kickers to ever play the game. I believe the Cowboys made the right decision to move on from Bailey earlier this year, especially after seeing the way he's struggled with inconsistency himself in Minnesota. But, Maher's recent struggles is starting to become more and more of a concern.

We've seen too many instances this season where a missed or made field-goal impacts the outcome of the game one way or another. This week they were fortunate enough to come out on top, but just imagine how the NFC division race would look if Maher would've made the one in Washington instead of clanking it on the upright.

The Ugly

Chidobe Awuzie

Dallas Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie

I could've easily went with the penalties or mental mistakes in this section this week for the Dallas Cowboys, but I ultimately decided the ugly against the Falcons was Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie being victimized once again. Opposing quarterbacks continue to throw his direction and unfortunately they're finding quite a bit of success.

I hear a lot of fans around Cowboys Nation wanting to see Jourdan Lewis get a shot at starting on the outside over Awuzie, but I don't think that's the right move at this time. I still think Awuzie is playing at a high level, but unfortunately he's just been the victim of some really good catches by receivers he's covering at the time.

Both this week against the Falcons and last week against the Eagles we saw Awuzie with tight coverage on Julio Jones and Alshon Jeffrey, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to prevent the completion from happening. That's just been the way things have gone for him this season. If he can learn to get his head around and locate the ball, he would find much more success and not be targeted as much.

What is your Good, Bad, and Ugly for the Dallas Cowboys against the Falcons?


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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys are returning home for Thanksgiving with a 5-5 record, needing to earn road wins at Philadelphia and Atlanta in the last two weeks to do so. Sunday's revenge win at the Falcons did not come easy, as the Cowboys conceded their first touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation to tie the game.

Missed opportunities in the red zone and penalties all had a say in the Cowboys needing a walk off Brett Maher field goal to win. Running Back Ezekiel Elliott once again sparked the offense in the second half, as the Cowboys defense assured this game wouldn't be a shootout in the first 30 minutes.

Here are my observations on the Cowboys latest thrilling win, greatly increasing their chances at reclaiming the top spot in the NFC East considering the Redskins home loss to the Texans.

  • A great down-the-line play from rookie Dorance Armstrong on the Falcons' opening possession to set up DeMarcus Lawrence's first sack.

The Cowboys came into this game thin across the defensive line. Defensive Tackle Maliek Collins and Defensive End Dorance Armstrong really took advantage of the opportunity, pushing the pocket against Matt Ryan and freeing up the Cowboys linebackers to be themselves.

Lawrence's sack was the play that got the Cowboys off the field on third down, but Armstrong meeting Ito Smith in the hole for no gain was as big of a play on second down. The Falcons were smart to test the interior of the Cowboys defense and use the power run to set up their vertical passing game, but Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard simply had their guys ready to play.

If Collins and Armstrong can sustain their high-energy level of play with Antwaun Woods and Daniel Ross working their way back into the Cowboys rotation at DT, this defense can reach a new level of play given their speed in the back seven and ability to give opposing offensive lines fits with just four up front.

  • Cole Beasley did more than enough to make up for it, but his drop in the end zone on the Cowboys first scoring drive is one he'll want back for a while.

The Cowboys play calling on their first goal-to-go situation left a lot to be desired, but Beasley was still able to make a scoring play with the ball in his hands at the pylon. Beasley bobbled the ball going to the ground and couldn't come up with it.

On the next play, the Cowboys finally targeted Amari Cooper, although without Ezekiel Elliott on the field. It was the combination of Cooper on the outside and Elliott in the backfield that provided a boost to the Cowboys offense last week at the Eagles, and for whatever reason they went away from it consistently against the Falcons.

Beasley's 19 yard catch and run on the Cowboys final drive set them up to run Elliott and kick the game winning field goal, giving Prescott an easy target on a crossing route. These are the types of inconsistencies the Cowboys will have to happily live with as they review this win and prepare on a short week for the Redskins.

  • Head Coach Jason Garrett should be questioned about how his offense handled the last drive of the first half.

Trailing by three in a game still looking for its first touchdown, the Cowboys came out firing with 29 seconds left in the first half before shutting the drive down themselves. After Elliott advanced the ball to the Cowboys 35 and prompted a timeout, his catch and run for eight yards was the final play of the half.

I have no problem with the Cowboys getting the ball safely into the hands of Elliott, but after gaining positive yards on two receptions it's inexcusable to sit on a timeout without attempting a pass to the end zone.

  • The Cowboys play calling improved in the second half, evident on Dak Prescott's rushing touchdown to give the Cowboys a 12-9 lead.

Again, taking the good with the bad, the Cowboys did go to this zone read look one too many times in the second half. From four yards out against a defense playing without one of their most talented players in Linebacker Deion Jones, Prescott faking to Elliott and keeping himself is as smart and safe a play as Linehan could have called.

Prescott's score was followed by Leighton Vander Esch's second interception in as many weeks, allowing the Cowboys to go right back to hammering the football. It took just two carries for Elliott to cover 31 yards and put the Cowboys ahead 19-9 off the turnover.

His 23-yard touchdown was sprung by Right Guard Zack Martin, who deserves a ton of credit for not only dealing with an injury sustained last week but seemingly finding an even higher level of play since then to motivate his teammates.

Joe Looney filled in well for Travis Frederick once again, and Xavier Su'a-Filo replaced a now-healthy Connor Williams for the second straight game, making Martin's elite level of play much more important.

Martin's lone mistake in this game came at a costly moment though, as a false start penalty backed the Cowboys up before punting it back to the Falcons for the tying score. Although the penalty created a third and 13 that Dallas used to keep the clock running on a dump off to Elliott, their second down play call to go with another zone read was costly as well.

Prescott lost two yards on a play that didn't fool the Falcons in the slightest, creating the original third and eight situation.

  • Chidobe Awuzie was actually in good position on Julio Jones' fourth quarter TD, but as has been the case all season he reacted late and was beat with the ball.

Awuzie ran stride for stride with Jones, doing his best to force the Falcons best receiver towards the sideline. To Jones' credit, he was able to stay true to his route and run under a perfect pass from Matt Ryan.

Awuzie's fate was sealed on the play when he failed to react in time to jump with Jones, who simply elevated over the Cowboys struggling cornerback to give the Falcons new life in this game. Awuzie has been given every opportunity to be the Cowboys starter across from Byron Jones, trusted by Kris Richard to be a valuable part of this defense.

Quarterbacks in need of a completion have been able to pick on Awuzie far too much this season. The Cowboys don't appear to be in any rush to change this, as Cornerback Jourdan Lewis is designated to handling jet sweeps for the Cowboys offense while Anthony Brown remains the starter in the slot.

It was Brown that struggled through all of 2017 before finding his form again this year, perhaps giving Awuzie some hope that he can respond sooner rather than later.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The early slate of games proved to be a massive one for NFC East implications. The Cowboys escaped Atlanta with a win, and minutes later the Texans put the finishing touches on a win at the Redskins. Much earlier in the afternoon, unbeknownst to the Cowboys fighting for their life at the time, the Redskins also lost Quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith broke his tibia on a hit from J.J. Watt, and will need season ending surgery according to his Head Coach Jay Gruden.

This division has been waiting for a team to seize control of it all season. Realizing this, the Cowboys didn't sulk through their poor start and made the right moves to play into contention - playing as the desperate team that often achieves a lot in this game through their last eight quarters.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Cowboys Leverage Defense to Reach .500 Against Falcons" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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