Lessons Learned from Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys

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It sounds like a broken record, but the Atlanta Falcons found a way to win on Sunday despite not playing their best football. Don't get me wrong, the Falcons weren't horrible but the offense had trouble executing on the Cowboys side of the 50 which resulted in six field goal attempts, two of which were no good. The Falcons had a lot of opportunities to score in this game and despite not taking advantage of all of them, they remain undefeated.

This game was an example of the Falcons doing just enough to win and making plays when they needed to in order to secure the victory. They got off to a slow start but overall the offense had a nice game. Matt Ryan threw for 342 yards with no turnovers, Julio and Roddy combined for 247 yards receiving, Michael Turner had over 100 yards rushing and Jacquizz faked a couple of Cowboys defenders out of their jock straps en route to 53 yards receiving and a couple of big plays down the stretch.

On defense, the pass rush wasn't there but the Falcons held the Cowboys to just 65 yards rushing and just 3 for 10 on 3rd down. Mike Nolan went exotic on more than one occasion as he used three defensive tackles to stop the run, ran Akeem Dent back into safety formation on multiple plays and pulled out a crazy Umbrella defense late in the game to take away the sideline routes from the Cowboys as they tried a last second comeback.

It wasn't a game where anybody really stuck out as being the star. Several players had "nice" games on offense like the previously mentioned Ryan, Jones, White, Turner and Jacquizz. On defense it was just a good solid effort by everybody. With Sean Weatherspoon out with an injury, Stephen Nicholas was all over the field and Akeem Dent improved a lot from his previous performance against Oakland. It's the type of game the Falcons have become used to winning this year. The Cowboys 3-5 record doesn't look good but they aren't a bad team and the Falcons came in and gave another workman like effort. Not everything in the playbook worked for the Falcons, but they did the right things at the right time and remain the only undefeated team in the NFL at 8-0.

Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and analysis over at The Grits Blitz.