Atlanta -- Missing a pair of their key cogs, the Cowboys offensive machine ground to a halt in Atlanta.
"We were playing a Super Bowl team," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, "we were taken out to the woodshed tonight."
The brunt of that woodshed beating inflicted on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The foundation of the Cowboys offense is a powerful running game. With Zeke Elliott's replacement Alfred Morris gaining just 8 yards on six carries in the first half, it set the stage for all kinds of dysfunction. Prescott led all Cowboys rushers with 35-yards on four carries in the first 30 minutes.
"Put it on me," said Morris, "I was the lead dog and we didn't get it done on the ground. We became one dimensional. We got behind."
Morris' inability to run meant Prescott had to run for his life. Third and long is no quarterbacks friend, but with Chaz Green replacing Tyron Smith, it became Atlanta's lethal weapon. And Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had a field day.
"When we got in those passing situations we couldn't slow them down," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "They put heat on the quarterback all day long."
Once the Falcons realized they didn't have to respect the run, that snowball effect turned into an avalanche that engulfed Green. Ask any pro and they'll tell you just how fast this game can come at you. This day an example of how quickly it can get out of hand.
"I feel like it just hurts," said Green, "because I feel like this is on my shoulders. I feel like I let the team down."
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says they tried to help Green, but it was futile, and the result was historically bad.
No player had ever notched 5 sacks against the Cowboys until this game. Clayborn had than many against Green and finished the day with six sacks plus two forced fumbles.
"We got our asses kicked," said Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, "and we'll get better from it."
"When you have games like this I don't think it's a distraction," said tight end Jason Witten of the lopsided loss, "it just shows you the margin. You've got to fight man. You've got to fight your tails off to find a way to compete and win these games because the opponents are so good."
And it will only get tougher to crank up the Cowboys offensive machine with the NFC leading Eagles up next on the schedule.
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