ATLANTA – Two dozen reporters swarmed Chaz Green’s locker after the Cowboys’ decisive 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, a team-wide struggle on the road Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Green, the Cowboys’ fill-in starter for injured All-Pro Tyron Smith at left tackle, stood in front of the media and took full responsibility.
“It just hurts because I feel like this was on my shoulders,” Green said. “I feel like I let the team down.”
Green was referring to the five sacks he allowed against Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn before the Cowboys benched him for backup Byron Bell in the fourth quarter. By then, the game had already gotten out of hand – the Cowboys unable to establish any consistency on offense due in large part to their issues in pass protection.
Clayborn added a sixth sack against Bell to set a Falcons franchise record and establish a new all-time high by a Cowboys opponent.
Here’s how dominant Clayborn was Sunday: He was one sack short of tying Derrick Thomas’ all-time single-game NFL record (7) since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
The Falcons sacked Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott eight times and held the offense to a season-low seven points. Prescott completed 20 of 30 passes for 176 yards and rushed for 42 yards, including an 11-yard score.
The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead on that play with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter. They didn’t score again.
“It’s on me,” Green said.
His teammates disagreed.
Center Travis Frederick said the Falcons didn’t surprise them with their pass-rushing approach. Without Smith, the offensive line as a group didn’t block them well enough.[embeddedad0]
“It’s hard to really pin things on one guy because there’s ways to get help here and work the scheme,” Frederick said. “So as a group, we take that.”
Smith, a perennial All-Pro, missed his first game of the season due to a groin injury that kept him from practicing all week. Green, a three-game starter at left guard early in the season, has played well at left tackle for Smith in the past.
Sunday, he said he simply had lapses in technique – leaning too much, not keeping his balance.
“I think it was more me not sticking to what I know,” Green said. “I think a lot of the issues were self-inflicted. I’ve just go to up from here.”
“You have some good days and you have some bad days. This obviously wasn’t my best day at all. I take this on the shoulders. I’m going to look myself in the mirror and fix the things that I need to fix.”
Teammates offered support for Green after the loss.
“Plenty of times I’ve dropped a pass, and the next one is coming back to me,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Chaz will learn from that and keep swinging and get better. We have a great coaching staff to help him do that. He’s a good young player for us, and it happens. Those guys are good.”