Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons

DAL
7
ATL
27
FINAL
1234T
DAL 70007
ATL 3771027

Game Information
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 73,761

ATLANTA (AP) Adrian Clayborn must've thought he was the one replacing Ezekiel Elliott in the Dallas Cowboys' backfield.

Clayborn spent most of Sunday running around back there, making life miserable for Dak Prescott with one of the greatest pass-rushing performances in NFL history.

A solid player but hardly a star, Clayborn set an Atlanta record with six sacks and forced a pair of fumbles to lead the Falcons past the Cowboys 27-7, a game that showed just how much Dallas missed one of its key offensive players.

No, not Elliott, though that was certainly a blow. After three legal reprieves, the star running back finally began serving a six-game suspension for allegations of domestic abuse .

The Cowboys were also without left tackle Tyron Smith, who couldn't go because of groin and back injuries. Third-year player Chaz Green stepped into the spot - and had a thoroughly miserable day trying to stop Clayborn.

Leaving Green grasping at air, Clayborn blew by him to force two fumbles - one of which he recovered himself by ripping the ball away from Prescott - and surpass the team record of five sacks in a game, held by Chuck Smith and Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey.

"You always envision it," Clayborn said. "I was finally in my groove."

He matched the second-most sacks in NFL history. Derrick Thomas, Osi Umenyiora and Fred Dean are the only other players credited with six sacks in a game, while Thomas holds the league record with seven for Kansas City against the Seahawks on Nov. 11, 1990.

Clayborn had more sacks in this contest than any other season except for his rookie year in 2011, when he had 7.5.

He came into Sunday with two sacks on the season and 22.5 over his seven-year career.

"AC went crazy today," Falcons receiver Julio Jones said.

Simply put, Green couldn't cope with Clayborn's speed.

"It just hurts because I feel I let the team down," Green said. "I've just got to get better. It's on me."

While Clayborn and the defense dominated the Elliott-less Cowboys, Matt Ryan threw a pair of short touchdown passes and reached 40,000 career passing yards in fewer games than any other quarterback in NFL history. Ryan has 40,073 yards in 151 games, surpassing the previous mark of 152 held by Drew Brees.

Ryan hooked up with Justin Hardy on a 3-yard pass for Atlanta's first offensive touchdown in the third quarter this season . Early in the fourth, Ryan put the game away for the Falcons (5-4) by tossing one to Austin Hooper for a 1-yard score.

Things started promisingly enough for the Cowboys (5-4), who jumped ahead 7-0 on Prescott's 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The score was set up by Xavier Woods' interception off a deflected pass.

Atlanta took control from there, ending Dallas' three-game winning streak.

After Matt Bryant's 50-yard field goal, Tevin Coleman powered over from the 1 to give Atlanta a 10-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter was a trouble spot for the Falcons, whose only touchdown in the period had come way back in Week 2 on Desmond Trufant's fumble return. Atlanta had managed only one field goal in the third over its previous five games, a major reason the Falcons lost four of those contests.

Coleman, who took over the running duties after Devonta Freeman went out early in the game with a concussion, got the Falcons rolling on the first play of the second half with a 17-yard romp. Ryan went to Jones with a 24-yard pass on the next play, and just like that Atlanta was in Dallas territory.

On third-and-goal at the 3, Hardy slipped free in the back of the end zone and hauled in the scoring pass that pushed Atlanta's lead to 17-7.

Dallas' last hope faded away when Mike Nugent, filling in for injured kicker Dan Bailey, clanked a 38-yard field goal attempt off the upright late in the third quarter.

Atlanta marched right down the field again. Ryan went to Taylor Gabriel on a 34-yard pass before connecting with Hooper from the 1.

ELLIOTT'S REPLACEMENTS

The Cowboys started former Pro Bowler Alfred Morris at running back, but he didn't have much of an impact beyond a 20-yard run.

Morris finished with 53 yards on 11 carries.

Rod Smith ran three times 14 yards, while Darren McFadden was thrown for a 2-yard loss on his lone carry.

Prescott chipped in with 42 yards on six carries.

INJURY REPORT

Freeman was hurt on Atlanta's second offensive play. After gaining one yard on first down, he took a blow to the side of the head from Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens.

Wobbly after the hit, Freeman walked off the field with the help of trainers. After a brief stint in the observation tent, he was taken to the locker room and didn't return.

Dallas linebacker Sean Lee also went out in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Cowboys: Return home to face the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles (8-1) next Sunday night.

Falcons: Travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks (6-3) in a Monday night game.

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry

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More AP NFL: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cowboys Falcons
06:19 Dak Prescott 11 yd run (Mike Nugent kick) 7 0
00:00 Matt Bryant 50 yd FG 7 3

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cowboys Falcons
01:31 Tevin Coleman 1 yd run (Matt Bryant kick) 7 10

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cowboys Falcons
08:26 Justin Hardy 3 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick) 7 17

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Cowboys Falcons
13:48 Austin Hooper 1 yd pass from Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant kick) 7 24
08:28 Matt Bryant 29 yd FG 7 27

Team Stats
  Dallas Atlanta
1st Downs 18 22
Total Yards 233 336
Passing 126 204
Passing Completions/Attempts 20-30 22-29
Yards/Pass 3.3 6.8
Rushing 107 132
Rushing Attempts 21 34
Yards/Rush 5.1 3.9
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles Lost 2 0
Interceptions Thrown 0 1
Possession 27:54 32:06

Dallas Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Dak Prescott 20 30 176 5.9 0 0

Atlanta Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Matt Ryan 22 29 215 7.4 2 1

Dallas Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Alfred Morris 11 53 4.8 0 20
Dak Prescott 6 42 7.0 1 12
Rod Smith 3 14 4.7 0 8
Darren McFadden 1 -2 -2.0 0 -2

Atlanta Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Tevin Coleman 20 83 4.2 1 19
Terron Ward 9 23 2.6 0 17
Taylor Gabriel 1 15 15.0 0 15
Derrick Coleman 2 8 4.0 0 5
Devonta Freeman 2 3 1.5 0 2

Dallas Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Jason Witten 7 59 8.4 0 21
Dez Bryant 4 39 9.8 0 15
Brice Butler 1 30 30.0 0 30
Cole Beasley 2 23 11.5 0 17
Rod Smith 4 15 3.8 0 8
Terrance Williams 1 9 9.0 0 9
Keith Smith 1 1 1.0 0 1

Atlanta Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Taylor Gabriel 3 58 19.3 0 34
Julio Jones 6 57 9.5 0 24
Austin Hooper 6 49 8.2 1 14
Mohamed Sanu 3 29 9.7 0 14
Levine Toilolo 1 10 10.0 0 10
Justin Hardy 2 7 3.5 1 4
Tevin Coleman 1 5 5.0 0 5
Marvin Hall 0 0 0.0 0

Dallas Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Byron Jones 7 2 0 0
Jeff Heath 5 0 0 0
Anthony Hitchens 5 5 0 0
Orlando Scandrick 4 0 0 0
Anthony Brown 3 1 0 0
Jaylon Smith 3 1 0 0
Demarcus Lawrence 2 4 1 11
David Irving 2 2 0 0
Jourdan Lewis 2 0 0 0
Benson Mayowa 2 2 0 0
Xavier Woods 2 2 0 0
Richard Ash 1 2 0 0
Tyrone Crawford 1 0 0 0
Kavon Frazier 1 0 0 0
Damien Wilson 1 1 0 0
Byron Bell 0 0 0 0
Taco Charlton 0 1 0 0
Sean Lee 0 1 0 0
Zack Martin 0 0 0 0
Lewis Neal 0 1 0 0
Kyle Wilber 0 1 0 0

Atlanta Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
De'Vondre Campbell 11 2 0 0
Adrian Clayborn 6 0 6 32
Keanu Neal 5 1 0 0
Deion Jones 4 0 0 0
Brooks Reed 3 0 1 11
Takkarist McKinley 3 0 0 0
Brian Poole 3 0 0 0
Dontari Poe 2 2 1 7
Ricardo Allen 2 0 0 0
Vic Beasley Jr. 2 0 0 0
Robert Alford 1 0 0 0
Derrick Shelby 1 1 0 0
Sean Weatherspoon 1 0 0 0
Justin Hardy 0 0 0 0
Kemal Ishmael 0 1 0 0
Grady Jarrett 0 1 0 0
LaRoy Reynolds 0 0 0 0
Ahtyba Rubin 0 1 0 0
Mohamed Sanu 0 0 0 0
Levine Toilolo 0 0 0 0
Desmond Trufant 0 0 0 0
Courtney Upshaw 0 0 0 0

Dallas Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Xavier Woods 1 7 0

Atlanta Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

Dallas Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Ryan Switzer 2 51 25.5 0 33

Atlanta Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Andre Roberts 1 26 26.0 0 26

Dallas Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Ryan Switzer 1 11 11.0 0 11

Atlanta Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
No punt return stats.

Dallas Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Mike Nugent 0 1 0.0

Atlanta Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Matt Bryant 2 2 100.0 50

Dallas Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Chris Jones 4 171 58

Atlanta Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Matt Bosher 2 85 44