The Cowboys have now lost four of the last five games after a 19-13 loss to the Falcons Sunday night in Atlanta. DallasCowboys.com staff writers – Jonathan Auping, Rowan Kavner, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus were all on hand and delivered their post-game reactions. Also included is their gut feelings from Saturday afternoon.
Nick: For the Cowboys to win this game, we all thought they'd have to be a great game and overcome the normal obstacles that come with playing on the road. To me, this game was lost early on, while usually it happens in the fourth. Obviously there were big plays in the final quarter that played a factor, but the Cowboys seemed to have a few breaks early in the game, but yet only managed two field goals. When you're playing a 7-0 team like Atlanta with a high-powered offense, you can't settle for field goals. While the defense was solid for most of the night, what will be remembered most is the last drive where they couldn't get off the field. The Cowboys were competitive with a chance to win, but you can't be solid and expect to be a good team on the road.
Jonathan: The Cowboys did what they needed to do to keep up with an undefeated team with multiple scoring weapons. They played decent defense for stretches. They got enough first downs to maintain a decent time of possession. At the end of the day we all knew it would come down to how many game changing plays could be made by Matt Ryan and his explosive weapons. The Cowboys defense wasn't terrible by any stretch, but the Falcons were successful at making the plays they needed to make to win the game. We knew that both these teams had a good quarterback, two very gifted receivers and a great tight end. All season the Falcons have been more successful at taking advantage of those things than the Cowboys. The same was true Sunday night. Sometimes it is just that simple.
Rowan: The Cowboys had to be one of the most favored 3-4 teams to ever play an undefeated team at this point in the season. But once again, the Cowboys couldn't do enough offensively and couldn't get the key stop defensively to put away a quality opponent. There's a reason people picked the Cowboys in this one, myself included. They provide glimpses of greatness, but ultimately come up short on too many occasions. They always seem one or two plays away from victory, yet they've lack the consistency in every major category to pull off a much-needed win.
Bryan: Last week I put the game on the shoulder of Jason Garrett and this Cowboys offense. This week I felt like that the offense would do enough in the game by scoring points. Several missed opportunities were left on the field and they were not able to get that done. This week I felt like if the Cowboys were going to win this game, that Rob Ryan's group would have to step up and make plays. For the most part Ryan was able to hold the Falcons in check but when they needed a stop the most on the final drive of the game they were unable to make it happen allow a big play to Rodgers to convert a third down and getting a defensive holding on Scandrick which also kept the drive going and allowed the Falcons to chew up the clock and kill the game.
Gut Feelings, posted Saturday, Nov. 3:
Rowan: Going out on a limb and picking an upset win would have been a little easier early in the week, when DeMarco Murray, Dan Connor and the wide receivers' statuses were more optimistic. Murray would be especially vital this week given the Falcons' issues stopping the run, not to mention a quality rushing attack would keep Atlanta's offensive weapons off the field. The Cowboys' haven't been intimidated playing undefeated teams midway through a season. They need a win more than the Falcons, and if they can cut the turnovers, they'll sneak one out in Atlanta.
Bryan:Historically when the calendar turns to November, it's the time of year that Tony Romo shines the most. With a record of 3-4 all is not lost and a win over the Falcons on Sunday night could turn this season around in the right direction. There is no doubt that Romo hasn't been as sharp as he has needed to be but you can say that about plenty of players on this team. Against the Giants, I thought they wasted an outstanding effort by the defense. Offensively, the Falcons can put a great deal of pressure on your defensive scheme but to win this game, Rob Ryan is going to have to find ways to once again get his defense off the field. The Cowboys will offensively score points but can Rob Ryan and this defense hold Matt Ryan in check? If they do, the Cowboys have a great shot to win this game.
Jonathan:It probably goes without saying that in order to beat the undefeated Atlanta Falcons the Cowboys will have to play some of their best football of the season. But sometimes being a big underdog finally takes a little pressure off of a team. I don't mean to disrespect a 7-0 team, but the Falcons are beatable. Obviously they have great receiving weapons, but I think the Cowboys' secondary is up to the challenge. Don't get me wrong, the Falcons will make big plays through the air, but I think that they will be at least relatively contained. But my big prediction is that Felix Jones will surprise a lot of people and play well. He has nagging shoulder and knee injuries that limited him in practice this week, but the Cowboys should look to run the ball and keep it out of the hands of Matt Ryan. I think, in one form or another, Jones will find the end zone against this Atlanta defense. Nick: So I missed one bad last week. Came right out and said the Cowboys would win, and even they nearly stole one in the end, they were anything but ready to play and had to rally just to make it close. I really don't know what to expect this week. I could see all four scenarios playing out. I see the Falcons and Cowboys wining close games and could see both teams, even the Cowboys, pulling away with a convincing win. While the Falcons have been very good, the way they're winning games suggests it's usually time the ball doesn't bounce their way. But let's not take anything away from a team that finds a way to win. It's not just luck, they've made their plays. While I've seen the Cowboys go into New Orleans in 2009 and pull this off, something tells me it won't go down like that this time. Yes, I see a way for the Cowboys to win – but it seems like I'm seeing a few more ways they come up short.