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ATLANTA — Unbeaten Atlanta scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Dallas Cowboys en route to a 19-13 win at the Georgia Dome Sunday night.
Atlanta moves to 8-0. Dallas falls to 3-5. The Cowboys play at Philadelphia next week.
“We didn’t do enough to win this game,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We have to find a way to make enough plays to win. They are a very talented team. They won eight games for a reason."
Michael Turner scored on a 1-yard run and Matt Bryant kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter to break open a close game.
Turner finished with 102 yards on 20 carries, including a long of 43 yards. Matt Ryan threw for 342 yards, but no touchdowns. Roddy White had seven grabs for 118 yards and Julio Jones had five catches for 129 yards.
“They have a lot of weapons,” Garrett said. “They did a good job making moves in the open field and the yards after catch.”
Tony Romo passed for 321 yards and no interceptions. Miles Austin and Jason Witten each had seven catches and Kevin Ogletree had three for 96 yards and one touchdown.
The Cowboys defense, similar to the previous weeks, controlled the game, but wilted late with a couple of missed key tackles.
“I thought our defense did a good job early forcing them to kick field goals,” Garrett said.
Dallas got off to a good start when the defense forced a punt on Atlanta’s first possession.
Dwayne Harris returned the punt 33 yards to the Atlanta 31.
Seven plays later, Dan Bailey made a 23-yard field goal to make it 3-0 at the 10:46 mark.
Atlanta drove to the Cowboys’ 18, but on a third-and-2 play, Bruce Carter dropped Michael Turner for a 1-yard loss. On fourth down, Matt Bryant’s 37-yard field goal was wide right.
Dallas took over and struck quickly when Romo completed a 65-yard pass to Ogletree at the Falcons’ 18. Four plays later, Bailey made a 32-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead at the 3:42 mark.
Atlanta finally got on the board with a 45-yard field goal by Bryant on the second play of the second quarter to make it 6-3.
Dallas tried to answer by moving to the Falcons’ 37. On third-and-7, Ogletree dropped a pass from Romo. Then Bailey missed a 54-yard field goal wide left.
Taking over on its own 44, Atlanta drove to the Cowboys’ 36, but was forced to punt.
From their own 3, the Cowboys moved to midfield where they punted on fourth and inches.
Atlanta moved from its 12 to the Dallas 28 in 48 seconds where Bryant made a 47-yard field goal on the final play of the half to tie the game at 6-6.
“Obviously, we rather have touchdowns than field goals,” Garrett said.
Dallas punted away its first possession of the second half after working out from its 14 to the Atlanta 44.
Atlanta drove from its 13 to the Dallas 25 where Bryant barely missed a 43-yard field goal to the right at the 6:43 mark.
Dallas was on the move and faced a third-and-13 play at the Dallas 41, but a wide-open Miles Austin dropped the pass and the Cowboys punted.
Atlanta countered with the first touchdown of the game. The Falcons drove 81 yards in six plays with Michael Turner scoring on a 1-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter to make it 13-6.
After another Dallas punt, Atlanta drove to the Cowboys’ 18, but a sack, short run and an incompletion forced Bryant’s 36-yard field goal to push the Falcons lead to 16-6 with 7:49 left in the game.
Now running out of time, Dallas went to its hurry-up, no-huddle offense and it paid off.
Dallas drove 78 yards in six plays for a touchdown. Romo threw 20 yards to Ogletree for the touchdown to make it 16-13 with 5:21 left in the game. Romo completed all six of his passes, including two to Jason Witten, who became the Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver on the drive, passing Michael Irvin.
With 5:21, Atlanta began its victory march by converting three third downs, including two on short passes to Jacquizz Rodgers, to put the game away. Bryant made a 32 yard field goal to make it 19-13 with 17 seconds left.
Four plays later, the game ended with a completion to Felix Jones at the Atlanta 21.
“We have to stay together and go back to work,” Garrett said.
ATLANTA — The season is now in jeopardy for the Dallas Cowboys.
They came here trying to knock off the undefeated Atlanta Falcons but failed, 19-13, at the Georgia Dome on Sunday night. The Cowboys have now lost eight consecutive games on Sunday night and are 3-5 overall at the halfway point of the season. The Falcons improved to a perfect 8-0.
What it means: The Cowboys are two games under .500 and most likely will have to win seven of the next eight to get into the playoffs. If the Cowboys win six of the next eight, they might need some help to reach the postseason.
Scandrick with some gaffes: Slot cornerback Orlando Scandrick struggled in the fourth quarter against the Falcons. He missed a tackle on a 31-yard run play by Michael Turner on a third-and-6, then was flagged for defensive holding on a third-and-8 play against Roddy White. Both plays extended the last drive of the night for the Falcons. It’s these kinds of plays that Scandrick has to make, especially with the game on the line.
Running back rotation: Felix Jones started, but Lance Dunbar (North Texas) got a majority of the snaps as the backup instead of Phillip Tanner. For the game, the Cowboys rushed for 65 yards on 18 carries. Jones had 39 yards on nine carries and Dunbar, on eight carries, picked up 26 yards. It’s clear the Cowboys miss starting running back DeMarco Murray, who was out with a sprained foot. His return for the Philadelphia Eagles game next week is a possibility.
Witten makes Cowboys history: Coming into the game, tight end Jason Witten needed three catches to tie Michael Irvin as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions. Witten finished with seven catches for 51 yards. But once again, he had no touchdowns.
No Bryant in second half: Dez Bryant started despite a sore hip and finished with one catch for 15 yards, none in the second half. Quarterback Tony Romo didn’t target him in the second half. Instead, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree were the main targets, along with Witten.
Ratliff plays hurt: Nose tackle Jay Ratliff hurt his left ankle late in the first half. While he didn’t start the second half, he played through the injury. There were no other major injuries for the Cowboys.
Who’s next? The Cowboys finish their toughest stretch of the season (four of five on the road) with a trip to see the Eagles on Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys are expected to face their most challenging test to date when they travel to the Deep South to face Atlanta. The Falcons are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL and there is a reason why their record is unblemished. They avoid mistakes. Atlanta is the least-penalized team in the league and has a plus-10 turnover differential. The Cowboys, meanwhile have been their own worst enemy. They have been flagged 54 times and committed 19 turnovers — the second-highest total in the NFL. For the Cowboys to march into the Georgia Dome and defeat Atlanta, they first have to make sure they don’t beat themselves. Here’s a look at how both teams match up:
When the Cowboys run
There are three teams in the NFL that are allowing more than five yards per carry. Atlanta is one of them. The Falcons’ defense has shown vulnerability when teams have elected to keep the ball on the ground. But whether the Cowboys have the ability to take advantage of their weakness is uncertain. Starting tailback DeMarco Murray won’t play as he continues to recover from a sprained left foot. And backups Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner gained only 19 rushing yards on 15 carries in the Cowboys’ 29-24 loss to the Giants.
When the Cowboys pass
Tony Romo’s never attempted more passes or thrown for more yards than he did last Sunday against the Giants. But Romo also tossed four costly interceptions. His performance encapsulated the inconsistency of the Cowboys’ air attack, which has been reliably unreliable this season. Now Romo and Co. face the Falcons, the tenth-stingiest pass defense in the NFL. Atlanta is allowing an average of 216.9 yards through the air per game and has made 10 interceptions. Safety Thomas DeCoud has four of those picks.
When the Falcons run
Neither Michael Turner nor Jacquizz Rodgers stands taller than 5 feet, 10 inches. Just as small as their stature have been their gains on the ground. The two Atlanta tailbacks are averaging 3.76 yards per carry this season for a team ranked 24th in rushing that has accumulated more than four yards on only 36.9 percent of its attempts. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have been solid against the run – holding teams to 104.7 yards per game on the ground. Without inside linebacker Sean Lee for the first time, the Cowboys fared well against the Giants, never allowing a carry longer than 14 yards.
When the Falcons pass
Spearheaded by quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ air attack is potent. Ryan has completed more than 68 percent of his throws, accumulating 17 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Ryan’s success, in part, can be attributed to the weapons at his disposal. Receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, two players who can stretch the field, are each made averaging more than 14 yards per reception. Tight end Tony Gonzalez, meanwhile, leads the team with 46 catches. The Falcons will test the Cowboys, who have surrendered fewer passing yards per game than all but two teams.
After Sunday, the Cowboys can add another special teams mistake to their ledger. After Dez Bryant fumbled against the New York Giants, the Cowboys’ return units have turned the ball over twice this season. Dallas has also allowed a blocked punt and surrendered a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Atlanta’s special teams aren’t much better. The Falcons have also conceded a blocked punt. But Atlanta’s mistakes haven’t been as frequent and their kicker Matt Bryant has performed just as well as the Cowboys’ Dan Bailey. Bryant is making 94.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. Bailey is converting 92.9 percent.
Since head coach Mike Smith was hired before the 2008 season, the Falcons have made the Georgia Dome a house of horrors for opponents. Atlanta has had a 29-6 regular-season record there during Smith’s tenure, posting a home winning percentage so high that it has only been eclipsed by the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens the last five seasons. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have fared terribly in Sunday night games, losing the last seven they’ve played since September 2010.
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NFL Films has compiled a Super Bowl collection with 45 hours of content that features highlights from all 46 of the games.
The 23 DVDs and a 26-page retrospective book with a foreword by the late Steve Sabol will be released through Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment on Nov. 13. It also includes an NFL Network program counting down the top 10 Super Bowls, and a year-in-review film for each team that lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Since 1965, NFL Films has been a ground breaker in telling the stories of the league. It has won 107 Emmy awards.
Founded by Ed Sabol, his son Steve began as a cinematographer and eventually became president of the company. Steve Sabol died in September, a year after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Steve always loved the Super Bowl films," said Todd Schmidt, senior producer at NFL Films. "He either cut them himself or put one of the top producers on it. Steve knew that the Super Bowl transcended the average football fan and he wanted films that told the story in historical context with an emphasis on the personal triumph on the largest stage imaginable."
Sabol was one of a handful of people who attended every Super Bowl. So his perspective from the days of Paul Hornung and Joe Namath to the Steel Curtain, the West Coast offense and the Mannings at quarterback was particularly insightful.
"The first law in the entertainment business is that you have to know how to put on a big show," Sabol wrote in the foreword. "After 46 years, the Super Bowl isn’t merely big, it’s an enormous, excessive, preposterous extravaganza — which is what’s so great about it."
ATLANTA — If you are young and a member of the Dallas Cowboys, chances are something bad happened to you recently.
That is, unless your name is Morris Claiborne or Bruce Carter.
While clouds hang over the heads of youngsters plagued by either injuries (DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee), legal/family issues (Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith) or mistake-riddled play (Bryant), life for Claiborne and Carter just keeps getting better.
Tonight, the Cowboys need the two sons of the South to shine in the Georgia Dome.
Claiborne, a first-round pick from LSU, and fellow cornerback Brandon Carr will be charged with slowing down Atlanta’s dynamic receiving duo of Roddy White and Julio Jones.
Coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan agree Claiborne seems up to the tall task after watching him record five tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery in last week’s loss to the Giants.
Claiborne is the only Dallas defender to record turnovers in back-to-back games this season. Two weeks ago, he intercepted a pass in the end zone in the win at Carolina.
“If you look at him over the course of the season, you’ve seen him grow physically and also in his demeanor and how aggressive he’s playing,” Garrett said. “There were a couple of plays against the Giants where he’s making tackles, and he’s really consciously trying to rip the ball out.
“The ball didn’t come out, but his mentality is that of a playmaker. And in relation to the football on the back end, that’s a real positive for us. He’s grown right before our eyes.”
Told Claiborne’s confidence level seems to increase each game, Ryan said, “Doesn’t it jump off the tape that way? The game is really starting to slow down for Mo. And he’s just going to get better and better.”
The same can be said of Carter, a second-year inside linebacker from North Carolina who also excelled against the Giants, notching seven tackles, a tackle for loss and one pass breakup. With Lee out, Carter also called the defensive signals.
It was a remarkable performance, considering that a year ago last week, Carter made his NFL debut after starting his rookie season in the trainer’s room rehabbing a knee injury left over from his senior year.
“It’s a whole lot different,” said Carter, who was limited to special-teams duty against Philadelphia on Oct. 30, 2011. “Last year, I was nervous playing in my first NFL game. This year, I’m really in the mix.”
Garrett said Carter played “particularly well” against the Giants.
“He handled his communication role and did a good job covering and running to the ball and making hits on the ball,” Garrett said.
Like Claiborne, Carter has a tough matchup tonight, facing future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.
“It’s going to be our biggest challenge of the season,” Carter said of facing the Falcons, who average nearly 30 points a game. “But we’ve got to go in there, stick together and fight our way through.”
Count on Claiborne and Carter swinging to the very end.