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Cowboys Defense Steals The Show in Blowout Vs. Falcons

How the Dallas Cowboys would respond from an embarrassing loss to the Broncos was discussed ad nauseum this week. On Sunday afternoon, all that was left to do for the Cowboys was take the field against a .500 Atlanta Falcons team and play as the better team – something they did for all four quarters in an easy 43-3 win.

The return of Michael Gallup sparked the Cowboys , while calling plays against his former team was all Dallas' needed to put up a dominant performance. The Cowboys insisted since the clock hit zero against Denver that their second loss wouldn't define them, nor was it a signal to the rest of the league that they're beatable. Rolling past the Falcons a week later goes a long way in proving them right, as they're next challenge is the AFC contending Chiefs on the road.

Before looking at that game, here are my notes on the Cowboys performance vs. Atlanta.

The Cowboys record-breaking second quarter was sparked by a sack. No Cowboys team has ever scored more than the 29 points in a quarter Dallas put up in the second. After two touchdowns were bookended by a three-and-out from Atlanta, the Cowboys broke the game open on 's second touchdown. It was another three play drive from the Falcons that got the ball back to before this, with Armstrong sacking on third down.

Armstrong filled the role that usually plays on the blitz, rushing up the middle and using his speed to beat the on his way to Ryan. In his first game back with the , helped make this play as well by lining up at right end and twisting inside to free Armstrong. The Falcons wouldn't get the ball back after this drive-killer until the score was 28-3, and saw a blocked punt for a touchdown make it 36-3 at halftime.

' role in coverage against running backs continues to be valuable for the Cowboys defense. Quinn has had to overhaul this entire side of the ball, from personnel to scheme and coaching points, but this is one thing that's carried over well. The Falcons best weapons in the came at and . lined up against on key downs, while Lewis picked up Cordarrelle Patterson. Lewis, Diggs, and all finished with an interception, as the Cowboys could attack passes in front of them with Jayron Kearse and behind at .

Michael Gallup is the receiver Prescott trusts to consistently make contested catches. In his first game of the season, Gallup caught three passes for 42 yards. While his presence on the field helped free up Lamb and for big plays, it's Prescott's timing with Gallup on tight window throws that stood out. The Cowboys had struggled running the ball in short yardage situations coming into this game, but now have another option in the passing game with Gallup making it hard on defenders to play through him on underneath routes.

makes tackles for a loss look easier than any rookie should. The Falcons had success getting big plays against Dallas early, something they've allowed all season. This is a defense that trusts someone to step up and make a play even when the offense is forcing them backwards, and that's exactly what Parsons provides. The Cowboys played with their best personnel on the field for most of this game up front, and Parsons read his blocks well to get in the backfield and make plays from sideline to sideline.


The Cowboys continue to hold a strong lead in the , even after the Eagles – with a big loss to Dallas already – beat the Broncos on the road. Of course, that was the same Broncos team that caused the sky to fall everywhere in outside of Frisco.

For Mike McCarthy's team getting back to work at , a season-long message of focusing on the end-goal of postseason success paid off against the Falcons. Prescott played at an level once again, defensive leaders stepped up, and the Cowboys completely flipped the narrative on how they'll go into Kansas City for a meeting of teams that could be playing again in warmer weather this season.

What do you think?

Sean Martin

Written by Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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2 Comments

  1. Good article! The only thing that I might disagree with is that with the return of MG …it sounded like without him our offense has been stagnant and unable to produce points and we all know that is far from being true! MG definitely helps this offense but without him we haven’t missed a beat which shows how deep we are at the receiver position!

  2. Sean — when you write: “while Dan Quinn calling plays against his former team was all Dallas’ defense needed to put up a dominant performance.” – Umm, no! What was needed was, for his players to ball out, which they did. MM continued his aggressive 4th down go for it play-calling, and the team performed. The entire offense delivered, and shout to to Steele, who manned up at left tackle.

    Also, when you say: “While his presence on the field helped free up Lamb and Amari Cooper for big plays, it’s Prescott’s timing with Gallup on tight window throws that stood out.” Let’s not pin this torrent of scoring on Gallup’s return. There are 5 receivers that Dak has, so let’s not overinflate Gallup’s importance, he certainly is a complement to Coop and CeeDee but they are equally enabling Gallup to have success, as does Dak’s entire arsenal of receivers including…POLARD!! If you are going to shout out Jourdan Lewis and Micah Parsons, why not dorance Armstrong. His presence was critical as we were missing our entire starting D line.

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