Well with this win, Atlanta is guaranteed at least a .500 record this season. There is still way too much football to be played to talk about much more than that, but playoffs haven’t been in doubt for several weeks. This game didn’t come as easy as some of the others though, which I sort of expected. It is hard to play at such a dominant level week in and week out, especially when everyone is gunning to take you down for your first loss. The Cowboys defense came out and played better than most teams have against Atlanta’s fearsome offense. Their offense didn’t share the same success, which ultimately was their undoing. At the end of the day, Atlanta walks away with a 19-13 victory and an 8-0 record.
Atlanta started off slow. They didn’t score in the first quarter, and didn’t reach the endzone until the 3rd. They were able to rack up 453 yards of offense, but just couldn’t complete drives, settling for 4 Bryant Field Goals. That won’t do every week, but they were able to overcome it this time. A bit surprising was that Matt Ryan didn’t throw a single TD. He amassed 342 yards through the air, with both Jones and White over 100 yards each. Even with Dallas’ top corners shadowing the two receivers, they couldn’t stop them in between the 20’s. That I think is more important to take away than the scoring woes. Atlanta won’t be held off the scoreboard like this most games, but what they showed is that they can still move the ball against a good defense.
Michael Turner had a blast from the past in this game. he 102 yards on 20 carries in this one. The fact that they even went to him that much was surprising. Then again, it really shouldn’t have been. Dallas was without their top two ILB’s, and started Ernie Sims who they just signed last week. Targeting a guy who was signed off the street a week ago is just good offensive strategy. Unfortunately, I don’t see this become a recurring trend. It would be great to have a more well balanced offense, but until Turner turns in a few these games in a row, I won’t expect much from him.
You have to give a lot of credit to the defense in this one. They have had their off weeks, but I really believe they are the biggest reason Atlanta is 8-0 right now. There are offenses that rival the Falcons attack, but the fact that the defense has stepped up in games like this one. Dallas scored only one TD in this one as well. The difference was that they only managed 2 field goals. Romo nearly mirrored Ryan statistically. He did well even without Dez Bryant having a big day. Clearly slowed by his hip injury, he wasn’t a factor in this one, which could have hurt their red zone opportunities. What really killed them was their rushing game. They have been pitiful rushing the ball without DeMarco Murray, and yesterdays game was no different.
Atlanta has another test this Sunday when the face the division rival Saints. New Orleans hasn’t been great this year, but has been much better as of late. They have won 3 of their last 4, and playing at the Super Dome is never an easy task. More on that game later in the week.