The Falcons lost their second game of the season in a 37-21 loss on the road to the Dallas Cowboys. The Falcons got behind early, and were unable to make enough ground to pull out the victory.
Matt Ryan had a tough day, completing 19 of 35 passes for 198 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. On the ground, Jason Snelling led rushers with 68 yards on 7 carries. Michael Turner added 50 yards on 18 carries and a score. Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 50 yards and a score. Tony Gonzalez (4 catches, 37 yards) and Eric Weems (2 catches, 33 yards, 1 touchdown) also contributed. The offense started strong with an opening 80-yard drive for a touchdown. But followed up with two three-and-out drives and then their next two drives ended in turnovers, before ending the half with another three and out. The Cowboys capitalized with 14 points scored in the final five minutes of the second quarter to take a 17-7 halftime lead.
Defensively, the Falcons alowed 426 total yards, including 311 in the air. In the second half the defense was unable to get many stops, as the Cowboys scored on 3 of their 4 second half drives. Erik Coleman led defenders with 13 tackles. Thomas DeCoud (10 tackles, 1 sack), Brent Grimes (3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Chris Houston (4 tackles), Thomas Johnson (1 tackle, 1 forced fumble), Curtis Lofton (5 tackles), Stephen Nicholas (3 tackles), and Mike Peterson (4 tackles) had noteworthy games.
Michael Koenen had 5 punts for an average of 46 yards with 1 inside the 20-yard line. Eric Weems averaged 4.5 yards on 2 punt returns and 26 yards on 3 kickoff returns. Special teams coverage gave up a 73-yard punt return which essentially was the nail in the coffin. That score put the Cowboys up 3-14 with less than 9 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and essentially out of reach. The punt return came after head coach Mike Smith opted not to go for a 4th and 2 on the team’s own 28-yard line.
Next week the Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints (6-0) on Monday night. The Falcons have lost five straight to the Saints in New Orleans. Their last victory in New Orleans came in 2002 with a 37-35 win. Their last road victory over the Saints came in 2005, in a game that was played in San Antonio due to Hurricane Katrina. Six of their last 8 games vs. the Saints on the road have been settled by a single score.