Falcons to face the “Brooking factor” against Cowboys

THE BRANCH — For the second week in a row, the Falcons will face a team coming off a bye week.

Dallas linebackers Bradie James (56) and Keith Brooking (51) in training camp. Brooking, the former Falcons, leads the Cowboys in tackles. (ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Dallas linebackers Bradie James (56) and Keith Brooking (51) in training camp. Brooking, the former Falcon, leads the Cowboys in tackles. (ERIC GAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A quick start will likely be necessary against the Dallas Cowboys, who appear to be losing confidence in Tony Romo’s passing ability. A big early lead will force the Cowboys to go away from their talented fleet of running backs – Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Georgia Tech and Lovejoy High’s own Tashard Choice.

How many tackles with Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking get against the Falcons?

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The magic of the bye week is that Jones and Barber are now healthy. While Jones and Barber were out, Choice was making a strong case for starter status. It’s no secret that the Cowboys are going to try to power the ball at the Falcons’ undersized defensive line.

The Cowboys have rushed for at least 150 yards in three games this season.

When Romo does pass, it will be off of play action and he only seems to find tight end Jason Witten. However, wide receiver Roy Williams (ribs) also returned to good health over the bye week.

(Aside — FILM STUDY: Brian over at Georgia Tech sent me a link to this hot Falcons video. Check it out.)

Our good buddy Keith Brooking, who some of you all wanted to run out of town, is leading the Cowboys in tackles from his inside linebacker position. He could play a key role in the game if he remembers the Falcons no-huddle signals.

Now, the Falcons have been having trouble in the quick start department. Look for offensive Mike Mularkey to change some things up. The likely scenario would be to open the game in the no-huddle offense, but if Brooking remembers the calls, that might not be helpful. The Falcons will have to change up some things and throw the Cowboys some curve balls.

The quick start has been missing. That was the Falcons specialty last season when they led the league with 114 first-quarter points. They’ve scored only 24 points in the first quarter this season.

They have not scored a touchdown on the opening drive this season.

Will Matt Ryan get the offense to a fast start in Dallas?  (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Will Matt Ryan get the offense off to a fast start in Dallas? (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).



Miami          42-yard field goal

Carolina      punt, after one first down

New England    26-yard field

San Francisco  Three-and-out

Chicago       Three-and-out


Cowboys Choice Football

Tashard Choice helps to power Dallas' potent ground game. (AP Photo/TONYGUTIERREZ)

  1. POINTS PER GAME: Falcons 24.6 (10), Cowboys 24.4 (11).
  2. TOTAL OFFENSE PER GAME: Falcons 327.8 (18), Cowboys 420.4 (2).
  3. NET RUSHING YARDS PER GAME: Falcons 98.6 (24), Cowboys  161.0 (3).
  4. NET PASSING YARDS PER GAME: Falcons 229.2 (15), Cowboys 259.4 (9).
  5. TIME OF POSSESSION AVERAGE: Falcons 29:02, Cowboys 30:06.
  6. OPPONENT POINTS PER GAME: Falcons 15.4 (4), Cowboys 19.6 (12t).
  7. OPPONENT TOTAL OFFENSE PER GAME: Falcons 359.2 (24), Cowboys 357.8 (22).
  8. OPPONENT NET RUSHING YDS PER GAME: Falcons 118.2 (23), Cowboys 106.4 (17).
  9. OPPONENT NET PASSING YARDS PER GAME: Falcons 241.0 (21), Cowboys 251.4 (26).
  10. TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Falcons +5 (7), Cowboys -4 (23t).


All-time regular season results: Cowboys lead series, 13-8

All-time postseason results: Cowboys lead postseason, 2-0

Falcon’s regular season road record vs. Cowboys: 3-7

Last regular season meeting: 2006, Cowboys 38 – Falcons 28 (Atl).

* * * The Falcons still owe the Cowboys for the 1980 Divisional Playoff round game when they coughed up that 24-10 lead, only to lose 30-27.

Will Jessica Simpson show up this week?

Will Jessica Simpson show up this week?

Should the Falcons open in the no-huddle against the Cowboys? How important will it be getting off to a fast start? Will the defense be able to stop the trio of Barber, Jones and Choice? Do you wish Romo was still dating Jessica Simpson?

133 comments Add your comment

Blue Fender

October 21st, 2009
8:53 am

Blue Fender

October 21st, 2009
8:55 am

Anyway…If the Falcons can start fast and get the lead, Romo will be playing catch up. That’s when he forces passes and makes mistakes. Interceptions will follow and the whining will begin.


October 21st, 2009
9:00 am

Based on the stats, the Falcons have no chance.

Falcon Sam

October 21st, 2009
9:08 am

The Brooking factor? Because of the “Brooking Factor” we will probably be able to rush for only 300 yards or so. He gets lots of tackles; the only problem is that they’re ten yards downfield.


October 21st, 2009
9:24 am

Could we get a friggin’ injury update on Mr. Norwood, please?


October 21st, 2009
9:26 am

This is one of those games were my emotions are split. I am a die Atlanta Falcons fan but I’ve know Tashard since the 4th grade and was blessed with the chance to play football with him in middle school and high school.


October 21st, 2009
9:30 am

Questions for Mike Smith and Matt Ryan:

All about the stadium

1. How do you account for the fact that the new stadium has a tiny play clock that isn’t easily seen by the QBs on the field
2. How do you account for coming out of the tunnel in the glass case cussed out by fans
3. How do you account for the sun shadows, etc. that will be there

Dandy D

October 21st, 2009
9:34 am

If the Falcons win this game, and don’t suffer any catastrophic injuries the rest of the season, and continue to improve as a team on both sides of the ball…pundits and analysts will look back to this game as the catapult toward a playoff slot. The team vs. team stats stack up against the Falcons who’ll be playing on the road in JerryDome. This is a potential win even more significant than the SF smackdown. If they win this game, they go 11-5. Here’s how I see it:
@Dallas win 5-1
@NO loss 5-2
Wash win 6-2
@Carolina win 7-2
@NY loss 7-3
TB win 8-3
Phi loss 8-4
NO win 9-4
@Jets 9-5
Buff 10-5
@TB 11-5

What’cha think?


October 21st, 2009
9:38 am

One of two former falcons will be in opposition of their former team. I believe that if we start with the no huddle it will give us a chance to go deep, rather than the short passes. However, Smith and company may not choose this angle since they haven’t done so all season. Brooking, is certainly not the thing that will beat the falcons. It’s actually our protection of the football with our running backs. Turner who only fumbled about three times last season has raised eyebrows this season. I think he will take a look at himself and set out to force NFL Network to show him and the Falcons some Luv.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 21st, 2009
9:42 am

Bluto: Coach Smitty elected to be mum on the Norwood and Moore injuries after the game and on Monday. He has to file and official report with the league today.

Mave2124: Thanks for the questions. Will try to work them in.

Terrell: You can root for you buddy and stick with your team!!! That’s really cool. Did a story on him before the draft and he was really cool.


October 21st, 2009
9:53 am

I have to agree that Brooking specializes in tackling in the 7 to 15 yard range so I’ll take Lofton any day. I think the biggest match-up for this weekend is going to be the Cowboys massive o-line vs the Falcons blitz. Personally, I feel that we have to send in linebackers and DB’s to make the line move alot laterally instead of vertically. As long as we can keep those big boys on their heels we can get to Romo and stuff their run. Also, I’m going to go ahead and say Ryan is going to go off against the Boys. If I’m wrong you’re welcome to come back here and tell me, but I don’t think I will be. As usual, Go Falcons!


October 21st, 2009
10:06 am

It seems that each week, the Falcs have a new set of obstacles to overcome to reach the next set of standards.

Losing to the Cowgirls would be especially bad as the next opponent is the Saints… with both games taken in context together, to make up the perfect storm of back-to-back losses and a huge loss of momentum.

As much as I still (and will forever) resent Dallas for 1980, this game is a must-win for a hundred other reasons.


October 21st, 2009
10:13 am

Like the Jeff Francoeur trade, it seems to have worked out for both teams involved. I’m much happier with the play of Mike Peterson who doesn’t seem to be trailng every play & piling on at the end. Keith is a good guy but he doesn’t even play every down, he comes out on obvious passing downs as he should, see last year’s playoff debacle. As for the quick start, yes, yes, & yes. But I don’t think we should come out in the no-huddle. Reserve that for later. Hopefully, Matty ice won’t be in the funk he was last week and can hit some receivers on the sidelines. Just move the chains, that’s all. Not impressed with Michael Turner at all, he is just way to slow hitting the holes. Rather use Snelling and get him some screen passes. Use my man, Finn!! He is Mr. conversion and has flypaper hands. Let them try to run on us, bring it on. Love our linebacker play this year. And Jam is so much better inside. Go Birds!!


October 21st, 2009
10:16 am

Good For Keith. Glad he’s doing well in a new place to end his career.

That said, I’d love to see him get devestated by Michael Turner and have cleat marks up the body (Duckett on Big Play Ray style) on the way to 4 rushing TD’s.


October 21st, 2009
10:22 am

I’m just glad Brooking is playing defense for THEM and not US.

Steve C

October 21st, 2009
10:31 am

I’m setting up a full blown tailgate party in my driveway for this game. We need to remove the Danny White curse from the 1980-81 NFC divisional playoffs and win this one 30-27. Have you ever noticed that most Cowboys fans you know aren’t even from Texas?


October 21st, 2009
10:33 am

Brooking always seemed to tackle the opponents knocking them the extra few yards for a First Down or into the end zone for a TD. So I expect he’ll throw some extra yardage or points our way with his tackles. Bring it on, Brooking!


October 21st, 2009
10:42 am

Back again with two key players to keep an eye on this week. Those two guys would be Babs and Jamaal Anderson. To have success against the Boys we have to stay strong at the point of attack. This is especially important because of their love of draw plays and their overall size up front. I never thought I would ever say Jamaal would be a key to the game but I am. And I feel even crazier saying this but I feel really confident that Jamaal is going to get the job done and do it really well. In my opinion after seasons at DE showing nothing, in twogames at DT Mr. Anderson has shown the athletic ability that made him a number 8 overall pick. Big game this weekend and I’m ready to see the Falcons step up again.

The Grinch

October 21st, 2009
10:51 am

I don’t think the Falcons would be dumb enough to use the same signals; Brooking won’t be a factor. Having every team have two weeks to prepare for us week in and week out will be though. Whoever foisted this schedule on the Falcons needs to be beaten with a tire iron.


October 21st, 2009
10:59 am

Let’s go FALCONS!! I live out here in Dallas, but a Georgia Boy and Falcon fan.
These folks out here already have us losing. Let’s lay it on them. The best thing about the Cowboys
is this new stadium. This place is something to see. GO FALCONS!!


October 21st, 2009
11:15 am

Let’s not forget 1978. The Falcons were the Wild Card. We went to Philly and Tim Mazetti (former bartender) kicked a field goal with no time left to win. Then we went to Dallas. We were holding our own when one of the Grits Blitzers knocked Roger Staubach out of the game with a concussion. Danny White rallied the ‘boys who went on to win. HATE THE ‘POKES, GO BIRDS!

Falcon Devil

October 21st, 2009
11:18 am

Cowboys are 4 point favorites, just like I did with the 49ers game that’s all I need to throw some $ on my boys!

Falcon Devil

October 21st, 2009
11:19 am

My boys being the Falcons OBV!


October 21st, 2009
11:30 am

I agree with the earlier post about Finneran. I wouldn’t mind of Roddy had less of a game Sunday if that meant Ryan went to his sure handed guys, Finn and Gonzalez. Pick them apart with the short passing game then mix it up with Turner. I’d like to see the ‘Burner have a breakout game. Go with the no-huddle, it’s going to be loud in there. I loved the play calling in the 2nd quarter vs. Chicago. GOTTA WIN THIS ONE!!!!!

SWAT Native

October 21st, 2009
11:34 am

I hate to say this, but I’m concerned the Dallas game may be a trap game for the Falcons. The Cowboys are coming off their bye week, their RB’s are finally healthy, the Falcons are coming off a bruising, physical game against the Bears, and there could be a tendency on the Falcons to take this one for granted and look ahead to Monday night with the Saints. I hope I’m wrong.


October 21st, 2009
11:34 am

Dallas is so desperate for a win. Jerry Jones wants a reason to celebrate in the new stadium, and I’m sure Arthur Blank is not Wade Phillips favorite person. We have to be ready for them to throw everything they have at us. Look, they even rigged the stadium Jumbotron against Koenan’s punting ability! ;^)


October 21st, 2009
11:41 am

Ryan drops back, quick pass to Tony G across the middle , who lowers his should and pushes Brooking back over the goal line for a score.
Falcons up by 4 going into the final 2 minutes.
Romo comes out and proceeds to choke.
Falcons win 21-17 ( TDs for TonyG, Norwood, and Jenkins..finally!)
Romo will pass for more yards than Ryan.. but he will also toss up 2 interceptions.
Turner needs to get those burners turned on!


October 21st, 2009
11:46 am

I think the Falcons are tailor made to snatch one from the Cowboys at home. Stop the run and they are done period. Our receiver corps is much better than the Cowboys and with the revamped D Line. This game should be very entertaining. Just a side note, while I can’t stand the Saints one good thing that came out of the Bayou Back Country Butt Whippin they laid on the Giants is that maybe now everyone will shut up about how the NFC East is the best division in football… Best? Really? The Giants couldn’t score as many points on the Saints as the Lions did. The Redskins and Zorn were DOA this year. The Eagles got blown out by the NFL’s JV squad (the raiders) and Jessica Simpson apparently made off with Romo’s mojo. The East can’t hold a candle to the South and after Sunday everyone will know it.


October 21st, 2009
11:58 am

The Cowboys are overrated, over hyped and hopefully over confident. Winning on the road in the NFL is still a tough task though, but I say our Falcons win.


October 21st, 2009
12:33 pm

The combined record for the teams the Cowboys have beat are 3-14. They can’t beat teams with winning records (Giants & Broncos). The trend continues against the Falcons with a big loss. The NFC East is weak. Falcons will beat the Cowboys the same way the Saints beat the Giants. Their stats are also inflated. Took 5 quarters to beat the Chiefs.


October 21st, 2009
12:37 pm

LOL.Falcon sam that was funny about brooking.But im glad you hit him and ill pile on brooking is gone.It would be real funny if brooking win the game for dallas in the closing seconds,that would be nice.31-27 dallas.


October 21st, 2009
12:48 pm

DOL, how many of those tackles from Brooking are for a loss? It seems that when he was with the Falcons, most of his tackles were on the Falcons side of the line of scrimmage, i.e. after a solid gain for the offense.


October 21st, 2009
12:53 pm

O.K Falcon fans,lets not forget the falcons weak secondary.Grimes is short like spud webb who is he gonna stop? better hope tye hill is ready to go or elmer fudge can do something.Otherwise romo will look like brady against the titans.


October 21st, 2009
1:08 pm

Am I supposed to be surprised that Shockley got cut?? He’s only played 1 season since high school. The guy wants to be an NFL QB, has been quoted as saying he thinks he can play in the league but he’s not getting any better because he’s riding the bench and running practice squads!!! Go play in Canada, the AFL, somewhere you can get some game experience dude!! Nobody is going to sign you with only 1 year of game experience since high school!!!!!

DJ Shockley

October 21st, 2009
1:12 pm

Can someone tell me what just happened?

The Dogfighter Returns

October 21st, 2009
1:23 pm

You got released DJ. You have a bright future in the UFL.


October 21st, 2009
1:37 pm

Brooking factor my A*#…he stinks..remember last years playoff? He fell off pass coverage on the deep route and covered the short route. It was 4th and 14!! I cry no tears and have no worries about the Cowboys. 3 INT’s, Barber runs for 140 yards and we still win by 14 points! Brooking is slower than a SLUG. He gets tackles when the backs run into him and fall down….Please..


October 21st, 2009
1:43 pm

Dandy D……..am I reading that correctly……?? The Jets are going to beat the Falcons……..??
Not this year my friend.

I also think you will see the Falcons destroy the Eagles handily.


October 21st, 2009
2:00 pm

Don’t worry D. Orlando. Mularkey and Smith are on a much higher intelligence level than you and I’m sure they’ve already addressed the possibility of Brooking knowing the signals.


October 21st, 2009
2:06 pm

Will Norwood suit up and play? Who are these five running backs the Falcons have been working out. It should be Interesting to see, If the General Manager can find a speed back similar to Norwood. I believe If the Falcons slow down Jason Whitten, similar to what the Patriots did to Gonzales, and make their wideouts beat us,I think our chances are good. If we stop the run and get Tony Romo to make mistakes I think we can steal a win in the JerryDome.


October 21st, 2009
2:08 pm

Mat Ryan can handle the Rush, I hope crowd noise, penalty and turnover won’t be the major factor. Romo will makes his share of mistake without a great rush. Bring this win back from the cow-ass


October 21st, 2009
2:13 pm

They added a RB to the practice squad and nope it was not Thomas Brown. Antone Smith. What does this say about Norwood’s injury and Mughelli? Never did understand keeping Shockley anyway. I mean if he could not afvance up the roster or beat out a undrafted free agent rookie then what’s the point in keeping him around.


October 21st, 2009
2:18 pm

Brooking has been around along time. He probably knows alot of plays before they happen, the trick is being able to stop them.

Eric C.

October 21st, 2009
2:21 pm

I see the falcons losing to Cowboys, Saints twice, Giants, and either at Carolina or jets the rest of the way…spelling a 10-6 season and wild card berth


October 21st, 2009
2:49 pm

Brooking should have retired here in ATL. He’s better than anyone in the Falcons LB corps & has been solid for the Cowboys.


October 21st, 2009
3:20 pm

My prediction. ATLANTA 38-17 over the overmatched COWBOYS.


October 21st, 2009
4:14 pm

The biggest key offensively in my opinion is how well and effectively the Falcons establish the run with Turner, I personally think that he can have a big day in Dallas, the offensive line has blocked well all season long and I really think the running game may ratchet things up this week. Defensively we must get pressure on Tony Romo without blitzing to take a lot of pressure off of the secondary. I look for John Abraham to have a big day but the his effectiveness depends on how successful Babineaux and Trey Lewis are taking up blockers. Sure Dallas is coming off the bye week but they really haven’t played well to this point in the season and except for a Pro Bowlish performance by Miles Austin they would have probably lost to the Kansas City Chiefs. GO FALCONS.

Atlanta 31
Dallas 24


October 21st, 2009
4:18 pm

Eric C wheres the faith, I think the Falcons will soundly beat Carolina and the NY Jets, and I Philadelphia is very beatable as proven by the Oakland Raiders last week, plus it’s at the Georgia Dome where Smitty is an impressive 10-1 since becoming head coach.


October 21st, 2009
4:22 pm


What is the status on Tye Hill is he ready to give it a go or what, I haven’t really heard anything lately on him.


October 21st, 2009
4:41 pm

Atl 20
Dallas 17