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Cowboys 100: Facts and stats ahead of Sunday’s home opener against Falcons

The Dallas Cowboys will begin their 12th season at AT&T Stadium as they take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) works in the pocket during the first half of a game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Atlanta.

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys started off the 2020 season on a down note after falling 20-17 in Los Angeles to the Rams. The Cowboys will next get an opportunity to even their record in their home opener from Arlington on Sunday where they will take on the Atlanta Falcons.

With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as Dallas looks to put a win on the board:

SERIES FACTS

1. This is the 21st time the Cowboys have started 0-1 in club history. Only 8 of 20 of those previous Opening Day-losing clubs ever made the playoffs.

2. This is the 27th time the Falcons have started 0-1 in team history. 14 of 26 of those previous teams made the playoffs.

3. Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, there have been 463 teams through 2018 that lost on Opening Day. Only 115 of 463 made the playoffs.

4. The Cowboys are 9-4 against the Falcons at home, including playoffs. Here is the breakdown by venue:

  • Cotton Bowl: 2-0
  • Texas Stadium: 6-3
  • AT&T Stadium: 1-1

5. The Cowboys are 3-4 against the Falcons in September with a 2-4 record at home.

6. This is the 15th noon kickoff game in the series with the eighth to take place in Dallas.

7. The Cowboys are 17-11 against the Falcons all-time. Here is how they compare to the rest of the NFC South:

  • Buccaneers: .789 (15-4)
  • Panthers: .643 (9-5)
  • Falcons: .607 (17-11)
  • Saints: .567 (17-13)

8. Since 1970, the Cowboys are 152-112 in early afternoon games with a 71-39 record at home.

9. Since 1970, the Falcons are 246-268-3 in early afternoon games with an 84-125-2 record on the road.

10. The Falcons are 52-86 in the Central Time Zone with a 5-15 record in Texas.

11. The Falcons are 1 of 3 teams that the Cowboys have beaten multiple times in the postseason without reprisals. The other two are the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

DAK PRESCOTT FACTS

12. Prescott is 1-1 against the Falcons. Here is how other Cowboys quarterbacks have fared against Atlanta (in chronological order):

  • Don Meredith: 2-0
  • Craig Morton: 2-0
  • Roger Staubach: 3-0
  • Danny White: 2-1
  • Steve Pelluer: 1-1
  • Troy Aikman: 4-1
  • Babe Laufenberg: 0-1
  • Steve Beuerlein: 0-1
  • Bernie Kosar: 0-1
  • Ryan Leaf: 0-1
  • Quincy Carter: 0-1
  • Tony Romo: 2-1
  • Brandon Weeden: 0-1
  • Dak Prescott: 1-1

13. Prescott tied with Baker Mayfield for the 10th-most pass attempts last week with 39.

14. Prescott’s three sacks last week were tied for the fourth-most of Week 1.

15. Prescott joined Jimmy Garoppolo, Drew Lock, and Teddy Bridgewater as the only quarterbacks last week to not throw an interception but still lose.

16. Prescott’s 7.3 yards per pass attempt were the 15th-lowest last week.

17. Prescott tied with Carson Wentz and Mitch Trubisky for the eighth-most play-action passes last week with 10.

18. Prescott tied with Aaron Rodgers for the sixth-most run-pass option plays last week with six. All six ended up passes.

19. Prescott was tied with Tom Brady, Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, and Lamar Jackson for the second-most time to throw last week with 2.6.

20. Prescott was 1 for 7 on third down passing attempts last week for 11 yards and a 39.6 passer rating. Prescott also took a sack.

21. Prescott’s 1.6 yards per pass attempt on third down was the lowest of Week 1.

22. Prescott has not executed a fourth quarter comeback or a game-winning drive since Week 17 of 2018 at the New York Giants.

MATT RYAN FACTS

23. Ryan has a 3-2 record against the Cowboys. Here is how that compares to the other Falcons quarterbacks (chronological order):

  • Randy Johnson: 0-3
  • Bob Berry: 0-1
  • Bob Lee: 0-1
  • Scott Hunter: 1-0
  • Steve Bartkowski: 1-0
  • David Archer: 0-1
  • Chris Miller: 1-2
  • Hugh Millen: 1-0
  • Wade Wilson: 0-1
  • Bobby Hebert: 1-1
  • Jeff George: 0-1
  • Tony Graziani: 0-1
  • Michael Vick: 1-1
  • Doug Johnson: 1-0
  • Matt Ryan: 3-2

24. Ryan had the highest pass attempts of the week with 54. Ryan also had the most passing yards with 450.

25. Ryan had the second-highest third down passer rating last week at 143.3. Lamar Jackson had the best at 145.8.

26. Among quarterbacks with at least 10 passes, Ryan’s 90.0 completion percentage was the second-best of Week 1. Only Daniel Jones’ 90.9% was better.

27. Ryan’s 23 first downs gained through the air were the most of Week 1.

28. Ryan’s 407 intended air yards were the second-most of Week 1.

29. Ryan benefited from the most yards after the catch last week with 227.

30. Ryan was blitzed 19 times last week, tied with Aaron Rodgers for the third-most in the NFL.

31. Ryan sustained five quarterback hits last week, tied with Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford for the second-most in Week 1.

32. Forty-three of Ryan’s throws were on-target in Week 1, the most in the league.

EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS

33. Elliott’s 4.4 yards per carry were the second-most among running backs with 20-plus carries in Week 1.

34. Elliott’s 96 rushing yards were tied with Christian McCaffrey for the fourth-most of Week 1.

35. Elliott’s seven first downs gained last week were the fourth-most in the league.

36. Elliott’s 127 scrimmage yards last week were the second-most of his career in Week 1.

37. Elliott’s two total touchdowns last week were the most of his career in Week 1.

38. Elliott’s 1.7 yards before contact were the third-fewest among running backs with at least 20 carries in Week 1.

39. Elliott’s 59 yards after contact last week were the third-most in the NFL.

40. Elliott’s three broken tackles last week were the fourth-most in the league.

41. Elliott’s 14 carries on first down were the second-most of the NFL last week behind Derrick Henry’s 20.

42. In 2017, Elliott’s first game of his suspension was Nov. 12 at the Falcons, who rolled the Cowboys 27-7, sacking Dak Prescott eight times. In 2018, when the Falcons faced the Cowboys with Elliott, the All-Pro back gained 122 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries for a 22-19 Dallas win.

MIKE MCCARTHY FACTS

43. McCarthy was part of the four coaches who lost with their new teams last week. Only Washington’s Ron Rivera was a winner.

44. The last time McCarthy started a season 0-2 was in 2006, his first season with the Green Bay Packers.

45. McCarthy is 29-16-1 in September with an 18-5-1 record at home.

46. McCarthy is 64-47-1 against playoff-winning coaches with a 39-13-1 record at home.

47. McCarthy is 45-38 against playoff-winning quarterbacks with a 27-12 record at home.

48. McCarthy is still 47 for 93 on challenges for his career. 2020 is now the 11th season he has gone past Week 1 without challenging.

49. McCarthy is 4-5 against the Falcons, including playoffs, with a 2-1 record at home.

50. McCarthy’s 4-5 record against the Falcons is his third-best against an NFC South opponent, including playoffs:

  • Buccaneers: .600 (3-2)
  • Panthers: .500 (3-3)
  • Falcons: .444 (4-5)
  • Saints: .333 (2-4)

51. McCarthy is 12-14 against the NFC South. Here is how that compares to the rest of the conference:

  • NFC North: .656 (53-23-2)
  • NFC East: .591 (13-9)
  • NFC West: .559 (19-15)
  • NFC South: .462 (12-14)

52. McCarthy’s last playoff game with the Packers was against the Falcons in the 2016 NFC Championship Game. Atlanta prevailed 44-21.

53. McCarthy is 0-3 against Dan Quinn, including playoffs.

DAN QUINN FACTS

54. Quinn is 0-1 for the fourth time since 2015. Only 1 of 3 of those previous teams made the playoffs (2016).

55. Quinn is 11-15 against Super Bowl-winning coaches with a 3-9 record on the road.

56. Quinn is 8-4 against the NFC East with a 3-3 record on the road.

57. Quinn is 2-1 against the Cowboys. Here is how he compares to other Falcons coaches with multiple games coached against Dallas:

  • Dan Quinn: 2-1
  • Pat Peppler: 1-0
  • Marion Campbell: 2-2
  • Jerry Glanville: 2-2
  • Dan Henning: 1-1
  • Dan Reeves: 1-1
  • Mike Smith: 1-1
  • Leeman Bennett: 0-2
  • June Jones: 0-2
  • Norb Hecker: 0-2
  • Norm Van Brocklin: 0-3

58. Quinn’s 2-1 record against the Cowboys is his second-worst against an NFC East opponent:

  • New York: 2-0
  • Washington: 2-0
  • Dallas: 2-1
  • Philadelphia: 2-3

59. Quinn is 10-8 in September with a 6-3 record on the road.

60. Quinn is 1 of 18 head coaches to guide a team to a Super Bowl in his second year with the team.

61. Quinn is 1 of 25 coaches who won their first career game at AT&T Stadium.

62. Quinn has yet to challenge this season, and is 10 for 22 on challenges for his career.

63. Quinn challenged possible defensive pass interference in Week 2 last year, lost, and never challenged again.

BROADCAST FACTS

64. This is the ninth game in the series to be broadcast on FOX. Here is a breakdown of games between these two teams on other networks:

  • CBS: 15
  • FOX: 8
  • ABC: 2
  • NBC: 1
  • NFL Network: 1

65. This week’s broadcasting team is Kevin Burkhardt and Daryl Johnston, making them the 28th different team to call a game in this series.

66. Burkhardt used to call games with Danny White on Compass Media Networks’ Cowboys games from 2011-12.

67. Dallas is 27-19 when Burkhardt calls their games, including Compass Media Network games.

68. The Falcons are 10-11 when Burkhardt calls their games.

69. The Cowboys are 21-13 with Daryl Johnston as color commentator.

70. Johnston is 1 of 11 ex-Cowboys to call Dallas games on television. The other 10 are John Roach, Eddie LeBaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Brian Baldinger, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Charles Davis, Tony Romo, and Jason Witten.

71. Dallas is 141-127 all-time on FOX, including the postseason.

72. The Falcons are 170-160 on FOX, including the postseason and Super Bowls XXXIII and LI.

73. This is the 10th Week 2 Cowboys game to be broadcast on FOX since 2009. From 1994-2008, there were three Week 2 Cowboys games broadcast on FOX.

BRAD ROGERS FACTS

74. The Cowboys are 0-2 when Rogers referees their games:

  • 2019 – @NYJ, 22-24 – L
  • 2019 – @CHI, 24-31 – L

75. The Cowboys have had fewer penalties than the opposition 1 out of 2 times with Rogers:

  • 2019 – NYJ: 8/105; DAL: 9/68
  • 2019 – CHI: 4/30; DAL: 6/52

76. The Cowboys are 1 for 1 when challenging Rogers. Opponents have not challenged Rogers.

77. The Falcons have never had Rogers referee one of their games.

78. Rogers teaches at both Lubbock Christian and Texas Tech in Lubbock, where he resides.

79. Rogers has officiating experience in the SEC and Conference USA.

MISCELLANEOUS FACTS

80. The game after McCarthy was fired midseason by the Packers was against the Falcons on Dec. 9, 2018 with Joe Philbin as interim coach. The Packers beat Atlanta 34-20.

81. The Cowboys’ three defensive quarterback hits were tied for the third-fewest of Week 1.

82. The Cowboys were tied with the Raiders and Panthers for the fewest tackles for loss from Week 1 with just one.

83. The Cowboys’ 3.1 sack percentage was tied with the Buccaneers for the 10th-lowest in the NFL from Week 1.

84. Jared Goff compiled just a 79.4 passer rating against the Cowboys defense, the 11th-lowest of last week.

85. The Cowboys’ four pass breakups were tied for the 12th-most in the league last week.

86. The Cowboys were 1 of 14 teams last week that collected an interception.

87. The Falcons gave up the third-highest yards per pass attempt last week with 9.2. The Cowboys were tied with the Dolphins for fourth with 8.9.

88. The Falcons were tied for the eighth-most blitzes last week with 13.

89. Believe it or not, but the Cowboys had only nine missed tackles last week, tied with the Lions for the eighth-most in the NFL.

90. The Falcons produced pressures on 33.3% of opposing drop backs last week, the second-most in Week 1.

91. The Cowboys defense had the lowest average depth of target last week at 4.0 yards.

92. The Cowboys defense gave up the fourth-most yards after the catch last week with 195.

93. The Falcons gave up the sixth-most yards after the catch last week with 149.

94. The Falcons gave up 232 passing yards to receivers last week, the fourth-most in the NFL.

95. Calvin Ridley’s nine catches for first downs last week were the most in the NFL.

96. Amari Cooper’s 14 targets last week were the third-most in the NFL. Only Davante Adams (17) and DeAndre Hopkins (16) had more.

97. Julio Jones’ 157 receiving yards last week were the most in the NFL.

98. The Cowboys are 6-1 on Sept. 20. Here are the results:

  • 1964 – WAS, 24-18 – W
  • 1970 – @PHI, 17-7 – W
  • 1987 – @NYG, 16-14 – W
  • 1992 – Cardinals, 31-20 – W
  • 1999 – ATL, 24-7 – W
  • 2009 – NYG, 31-33 – L
  • 2015 – @PHI, 20-10 – W

99. The Falcons are 5-2 on Sept. 20. Here are the results:

  • 1970 – @NO, 14-3 – W
  • 1981 – SF, 34-17 – W
  • 1987 – WAS, 21-20 – W
  • 1992 – NO, 7-10 – L
  • 1999 – @DAL, 7-24 – L
  • 2009 – CAR, 28-20 – W
  • 2015 – @NYG, 24-20 – W

100. The Cowboys have one birthday to celebrate on Sept. 20, and that is cornerback Carl Howard born in 1961. Howard played his rookie season of 1984 for Dallas before sustaining a season-ending injury against the Buffalo Bills.

Do you think the Cowboys will be able to even up their record after Sunday’s matchup against Atlanta? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.