ARLINGTON, Texas – Wow, what a crazy game indeed. We've got last-second kicks, rare onside kicks that we've never seen before. And, of course, one of the best comebacks in franchise history.
But like all games, there were some hidden plays that might go unnoticed yet played a big factor in the outcome.
Here are the five you can't forget about:
- Aldon drops Ryan short – In the first quarter, Atlanta already had a 17-0 lead and was knocking on the door for more points inside the red zone. On third-and-9, Matt Ryan had to take off and scramble, and had some room to run for the first down. But Aldon Smith was chasing on the play and tackled him for just a 3-yard gain, setting up another field goal. While the Falcons got some points, it made the lead just 20-0 and the Cowboys still had plenty of time and remained within three touchdowns of Atlanta.
- Falcons' two-point decision – While Cowboys fans had to be scratching their heads on the team's decision to go for two late in the game while down nine, maybe Atlanta's fans are doing the same, albeit on a play that occurred way earlier. The Falcons led 26-7 midway through the second quarter and tried a two-point conversion to take a 21-point lead. The incomplete pass, thanks to a deflection by rookie Trevon Diggs, kept the Cowboys down by 19. As the crazy game unfolded, maybe the Falcons would've liked to have had that point back, having lost by a point.
- Julio's drop, followed by penalty – With the Cowboys trailing 29-17, Atlanta had moved the ball inside Dallas territory. On third-and-short, the Falcons tried a trick play by using receiver Russell Gage in the wildcat formation where he threw it deep to Julio Jones. Although he beat Diggs on the play, Jones dropped the pass to set up fourth down. The Falcons kept the offense on the field to go for it, but a penalty for 12 players in the huddle forced them to instead punt the ball back to Dallas.
- Dak finds Bell on the sideline – The Cowboys brought in tight end Blake Bell to be more of a blocker, but he snuck out into a route late in the game and Dak Prescott found him for a 24-yard gain in front of the Cowboys' bench. It was third-and-4 from the Dallas 31-yard line and the Cowboys were trailing by 15. Not only did the completion move the sticks, but it was the longest pass play of the drive, which ended with the Cowboys scoring to cut the lead to 39-30.
- Two negative plays on Atlanta's last drive – While the big play that saw Everson Griffen sack Ryan on second down will be talked about more, it was the play on first down that might've been bigger. Xavier Woods' tackle of Todd Gurley for a 2-yard loss with 4:44 to play forced the Falcons to pass on second down. After Griffen's sack, the Cowboys stopped them on third down to get the ball back and cut into the lead even more.
Don't miss the chance to see the Cowboys when they return to AT&T Stadium on October 4th to take on the Cleveland Browns. A limited number of tickets are on sale now. Click here to find tickets.
Details on all of the health and safety procedures you can expect at AT&T Stadium this season can be viewed at www.DallasCowboys.com/safestadium.