The Dallas Cowboys came out of the gate clicking on all cylinders as the running game headed by Joseph Randle were on fire early on. Randle had 85 yards on his first three carries of the game, including a 37-yard touchdown that helped the Cowboys to a 14-0 lead. He would later score his third rushing touchdown later in the first half to give the Cowboys a 28-14 lead, but would be limited to two yards in his final 11 runs of the game.
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden started off well in place of Tony Romo, as he started off 9-for-9 in pass completion before he threw an ill-advised interception in the second quarter that was a huge momentum shifter in the game. Weeden would finish the game 22-for-26 passing but took very few shots down the field and mostly stayed with short and intermediate throws.
The Atlanta Falcons trio of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and starting running back Devonta Freeman led the Falcons to their third come from behind victory of the season, as the Cowboys defense had no answer for them in the second half. This was the third straight game in a row that Atlanta was able to overcome a 14 point deficit.
Matt Ryan got it going after a slow start and finished 24-of-36 for 285 yards and two touchdown passes.
Freeman, who started in place of Tevin Coleman who is battling a rib injury, had no trouble against Dallas' league-leading number one rushing defense, getting 89 yards in the second half as the Falcons scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to overcome a 28-17 deficit. Atlanta was 9-of-14 on third down and little resistance from the Cowboys pass rush as the game worn on.
When the Falcons weren't running the football it was Julio Jones that was torturing the Cowboys secondary, as he had 137 of his 162 total yards in the second half as well as two touchdown scores on the afternoon.
For whatever the reason, it seemed as if the Atlanta Falcons made all the necessary adjustments during halftime, while the Cowboys weren't able to muster anything offensively and looked lost and confused on defense in the second half.
Julio Jones took advantage of man-to-man coverage as the Cowboys, for whatever reason, didn't double team Jones as much as one might think and it showed. A thin Dallas defensive line wasn't able to put any pressure on Matt Ryan late in the game and it hurt the secondary play.
While Weeden was efficient passing the ball, Cole Beasley was the only wide receiver to catch the ball while Terrance Williams was silent all day. Running back Lance Dunbar led Dallas in receptions with 10 catches for 100 yards.
If the Dallas Cowboys are to stay atop of the NFC East they're going to have to find a way to spread the field and take some chances down the field. A large part of that responsibility goes on the receivers, and particularly Terrance Williams to get open when he has man-to-man coverage.
Opposing defenses are going to stack the box as the Falcons did Sunday afternoon to slow the running game. It's up to Weeden and his outside receivers to make opposing secondary's pay.
They'll get a shot next week on the road against a soft New Orleans Saints defense that will most than likely be without quarterback Drew Brees.
The Atlanta Falcons improve to 3-0 and remain tied for the NFC South division lead with the Carolina Panthers (3-0). The Cowboys in the meantime drop to 2-1 but remain on top of the NFC East with the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles all trailing at 1-2.