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All our week 8 content

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Other Week 7 Game Recaps
ARI at NYGATL at DALBUF at CARCHI at CINGB at CLEIND at STLMIN at PITNE at TB
NO at MIANYJ at OAKPHI at WASSD at KCSF at HOU

Week 7 Game Recap: Atlanta Falcons 21, Dallas Cowboys 37


Atlanta Falcons

QB Matt Ryan, Pass: 19 - 35 - 198 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0

Ryan started out very sharp with the timing based short passing game moving the chains, but the Cowboys blitzes and pressure soon got to him, and Ryan never really got comfortable for the rest of the game. He did hit Roddy White on an out close in for the Falcons first TD, and the Falcons did call a flea flicker early, but the Cowboys pressure and good coverage downfield kept it from producing a big play. Ryan threw his first interception with Mike Jenkins left Michael Jenkins and jumped a Roddy White route, and his second happened on an ill-advised throw into double coverage during a desperation attempt to come back. Ryan also gave up the ball on an all-out blitz that ended a drive into Cowboy territory. His second TD was a 4th and 10 throw to a receiver that the Cowboys forgot to cover in garbage time. Ryan did move around and keep his eyes downfield well when he could elude the pressure, but nothing seemed to come open downfield. It was a combination of a lack of special, inspired plays by the Falcons offense, and a great job dialing up blitzes and keeping Ryan off balance that led to mediocre day for the Falcons passing game.

RB Michael Turner, Rush: 18 - 50 - 1

Michael Turner was met in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage too often for him to have a good day running the football, not to mention the Falcons had to play from behind for the whole second half. Turner did break a few tackles and ran with great determination, but he doesn't seem to have quite the same power, burst or crispness in his moves. The Falcons offensive line was getting no push against the Cowboys front seven, and they seemed to be crashing down on the line of scrimmage hard when Turner was in the game. He did score on a bulldozer run at the goal line, and Turner was successful on a draw and when he got to the outside, but when the defense is playing as hungry as Dallas was against the run and pass, of course it's going to be long day for Turner.

RB Jason Snelling, Rush: 7 - 68 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0

Snelling got a lot of snaps because the starting fullback and #2 RB for the Falcons were both out injured. The running game didn't do much with him as a lead blocking fullback, but Snelling did have a lot of success as a tailback. He ran with great leg drive and urgency, and he broke a big run when the Cowboys flooded the middle to stop the run and he got outside. Snelling hit the line with good pace and almost always got yards after contact. He looks like he's turning into a very good backup RB who can put up numbers when the starter is out.

RB Verron Haynes, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0

Haynes got in for an injured Ovie Mughelli, catching a few passes out of the backfield but otherwise not having an impact.

WR Roddy White, Rec: 6 - 50 - 1

White had a quiet day. He worked the sidelines and short crossing routes and broke a few tackles after the catch, and he also got open outside on his short TD catch. White was Ryan's target on first and goal in the same series. He threw a downfield block to help spring Jason Snelling's big run, but White was never able to have a big effect on the outcome of this game because there wasn't time for him to get open downfield or enough success in the run game to get Dallas's defense off balance.

WR Brian Finneran, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0

Finneran made a few catches and ran hard after the catch. He is more sure-handed than Michael Jenkins and he might get more targets if Jenkins play continues to be subpar.

WR Michael Jenkins, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0

Jenkins had a bad day in what has been a bad year for him so far. He dropped passes, he lost his feet when he had a chance to get a key third down conversion late, and he just didn't play with a precise, focused edge to his game.

WR Eric Weems, Rec: 2 - 33 - 1

Weems caught a TD when no one covered him on a 4th and 10 in garbage time, but he's not flashing anything that would make you think that his role is going to grow greatly in the near future.

TE Tony Gonzalez, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0

Gonzo had the first two catches of the game, and then only had two more catches for the rest of the contest. He did have a lot more yardage on his later catches, a good downfield route on a third and long and a sprawling catch of a low pass, but most of the day he was covered well by the Cowboys.


Dallas Cowboys

QB Tony Romo, Pass: 21 - 29 - 311 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 31 - 0

Since a horrendous Sunday night performance vs. the Giants, Romo has been playing as well as any QB this side of Peyton Manning. He was patient in the pocket, but picked his moments to run and extend plays well, including a bonafide Houdini act on the short TD pass to Patrick Crayton. Romo once again was on the same as Miles Austin all day on all kinds of throws, from a deep ball on a post route after a Falcons TD to intermediate comebacks and bullets over the middle. Only one of his two TDs to Austin was a result of broken tackles this week. Romo used Jason Witten as a safety valve and hot read, and moved the offense at will after a few early three-and-outs. He has turned back into a fantasy QB1 with a wide array of weapons.

RB Marion Barber, Rush: 14 - 47 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0

Early on Barber was thwarted, being met in the backfield at least four times on first half carries. As the game went on, Barber started running hot, going through arm tackles and making quick, subtle moves to get through the line of scrimmage. His downhill running helped put the game away, and he was always strong as a pass blocker, but he still doesn't look quite capable of breaking the big run when he gets to the open field with a choppy stride and no second gear.

RB Felix Jones, Rush: 8 - 37 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0

If Jones's knee is slowing him down, you couldn't tell on Sunday. He once again made someone miss completely in the open field, and make it look way too easy, and Jones was generally slippery in one on one confrontations. Jones got a few snaps in a row in the first half and showed his electric initial burst on a few runs. He didn't get a chance to do anything on his receptions because they were low, but one of them came in the red zone. He'll be back to his big play ways any day now.

RB Tashard Choice, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0

Choice was in on some passing downs, but he is clearly back to his early season afterthought role until injuries hit the Cowboys backfield again, despite reports that he would be more involved leading up to this game. He did have an excellent catch downfield when he ran a route into the area between the dropping linebacker and safeties on third down, and he provided good protection for Tony Romo when he stayed at home.

WR Miles Austin, Rec: 6 - 171 - 2

Austin dismissed any ideas that his breakout game vs. KC was a fluke with another dominant game. He got open deep and ran away from the safety. He got both feet down on a deep sideline throw. He worked the middle of the field and hands-caught bullets from Romo, and just like in the KC game, he broke a tackle to get free and score. He abused Brent Grimes on the way to that TD, pushing him around and drawing a penalty in the process. Austin's timing with Romo is impeccable right now, and while his current pace is unsustainable, it's hard to consider him anything less than a fantasy WR1 until we see otherwise.

WR Patrick Crayton, Rec: 2 - 9 - 1

Crayton has been marginalized in the passing offense, but he still found the end zone twice. He caught a TD when he sat down at the back of the end zone while Tony Romo escaped multiple would-be tacklers, and he took advantage of great blocking and poor coverage on a straight line punt return for touchdown.

WR Roy Williams, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0

Williams looked about as bad as he has all season. He had multiple drops, his routes weren't very crisp, his timing with Romo was off, and he even got called for offensive pass interference on a short route. His game is lacking confidence, strength, and aggression right now, and it has been so long since we've seen Williams play with those qualities that it's hard to remember what that looks like.

TE Jason Witten, Rec: 5 - 53 - 0

Witten's role is clear. He's the outlet and hot read for Romo, and he'll run short to intermediate routes in the middle of the field to exploit dead spots in the zone coverage. He is not being looked to in the red zone or on playmaking seam routes. He's still going to be one of the best TEs for catches and yardage, but Miles Austin emergence has usurped Witten's chance to be one of the few TEs that is the #1 target in his passing offense.

TE Martellus Bennett, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0

Bennett was more live receiver than decoy early in this game. He ran precise routes and looked more sure-handed and smooth that he has all year. With Roy Williams struggles, there's still a chance for Bennett to play a bigger role as the season goes on.