5 things we learned from the Dallas game

Tony Romo ducks out of sack attempt by Jonathan Babineaux. (Louis Deluca/Dallas Morning News)

Tony Romo ducks out of sack attempt by Jonathan Babineaux. (Louis Deluca/Dallas Morning News)

DIRTY BIRDLAND – Let’s get right to the point.

Five things we learned from the Dallas game.

1. STAY ON THE SCRIPT: The opening drive was a masterpiece. The Falcons script their first 15 plays.

When the offense went “off script,” it grinded to a halt.

“Second drive, we went out and had two drops and the penalty,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

Wonder why you can’t “stay on script” if the script is working?

“They came back and made some adjustments,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “They played well up front and in the secondary. It’s frustrating because we feel like we can play better. But that’s a good defense that we played.”

Miles Austin shown here, pulling away from Brent Grimes. (Louis Deluca/Dallas Morning News).

Miles Austin shown here, pulling away from Brent Grimes. (Louis Deluca/Dallas Morning News).

2. WHERE WAS THE NO-HUDDLE?: The Falcons didn’t go to their vaunted no-huddle attack. The one that served them so well against the Chicago Bears. The one they scored two touchdowns, just last week.

If somebody finds the Falcons’ no-huddle offense, return it to them by next Monday night.

3. ROMO PULLS A HOUDINI: Free safety Thomas DeCoud had the best line after the game.

“He was Houdini today,” DeCoud said. “He made a lot of great escapes. It’s a credit to his talent as a quarterback.”

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux had the first shot at Romo on that touchdown pass right before halftime.

“The play was out there to make and I just missed my assignment on tackling him,” Babineaux said. “He made a good play off of our mistake.”

But you had him?

“He ducked out of it,” Babineaux said. “I couldn’t grab him with my right hand. He got loose and made a good play off of it. We just left too many plays out there.”

4. OFFENSIVE LINE GOT TOSSED AROUND: Right tackle Tyson Clabo and the rest of his line mates had a rough day

DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and made things rough for Ryan. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News).

DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and made things rough for Ryan. (Vernon Bryant/Dallas Morning News).

against the Cowboys.

“We knew we had a challenge on our hands,” Clabo said. “The problem . . . is that they have five good pass rushers. We were a lot of times just one-one-one with those guys. You can’t put a back on those guys.”

Clabo was clear about what happened in Dallas.

“They kind of whipped us,” Clabo said. “It wasn’t a surprise to me. We knew they were good pass rushers. We’ve got to do a better job. It’s really inexcusable.”

5. RYAN UNDER FIRE: The Cowboys made things rough on Ryan.  He was under heavy pressure and was sacked four times.

His 66.1 passer rating was his lowest of the season and his second-straight sub-70 game.

“Pressure affects the passing game,” Ryan said.

They Falcons have to get a lot of things in order before the head down to New Orleans for next week’s Monday Night showdown in the NFC South.

259 comments Add your comment

mike s

October 26th, 2009
10:42 am

Saints Fan

October 26th, 2009
10:44 am

…And now you have to go down to the bayou….Jachimo-fi-nah-nay!!!!

tbone

October 26th, 2009
10:45 am

6. Keith Brooking is still as overrated as ever but now we can add that he’s a 1st class jerk as well to trash talk his old team. Classless act given the send-off the Falcons organization showed him.

mike s

October 26th, 2009
10:46 am

I think we learned road games are going to be tuff against good teams. Especially teams goming off their bye week.Birds are going to have to run the ball next week against the Saints or we’re looking at a blowout.

booquinn

October 26th, 2009
10:47 am

DeCoud man up and take the blame for being out of position all day along with the rest of the team, Romo is an average NFL QB at best.

Spudz

October 26th, 2009
10:54 am

The Falcons played horribly yesterday! I think we need a better mix at the RB position as well. Jason Snelling did a good job running the ball and need more touches. Our O-Line has got to do better as well as the secondary. We allowed Ryan to be pressured all game and that affected his ability to pass the ball. Not giving Ryan an out, but when your O-Line is not giving him time to pass the ball, chances are he will not be effective in pass. I just hope we can get these issues resolved before the New Orleans vs Atlanta game.

Humble Fan

October 26th, 2009
10:56 am

I don’t want to here any excuses.The Falcons are just an overrated team brought on by Auther Blank and Co.Atlanta fans deserve better than this.just another smoke screen the falcons are burning just to fill up the dome.What a pathectic effort of trying to look like pros.

DirtyBird

October 26th, 2009
10:58 am

The way we played against Cowboys!!!.. i doubt we have any chance to even making into playoffs!!. This was crucial game we lost and this games is gonna come back at end of the season and hunt us!! Falcons need to work on more then just fixing offensive line up before they play SAINTS @ SuperDome. Saints is much better team and superdome is more louder compare to cowboys team and their stadium..

mountain_jim

October 26th, 2009
11:01 am

Turner needs to man up and admit he is not finding or hitting his holes (such as they are) like last year. Start Snelling to try and light a fire under his butt.

falcons luva

October 26th, 2009
11:03 am

I agree whole-heartedly with tbone above. I felt the same way, he was just classless. And the camera loved his excitement. Brooking stated in an interview awhile ago on NFL Network that he loved the opportunity and the family in Atlanta Falcons organization, but feels he’s more at home here. WHAT!?

It's good to see that

October 26th, 2009
11:04 am

1. Our DB’s are so undersized. I also agree there were problems all over the field yesterday. They just don’t have the height to compete for balls with the bigger WR’s of the league. They are going to have to figure something out there if they can’t get pressure on the opposing QB.

2. Also very surprised that Snelling pretty much outran Turner yesterday. That’s a HUGE concern.

3. Not having Norwood yesterday hurt our offense. That game had “shootout” written all over it…

MAD-DONNA

October 26th, 2009
11:06 am

Mike Smith says after every loss, “we have to work on getting it right”. It’s too bad the difference between an average team and a really good team, is the really good team works on getting it right in training camp, while the average team works on getting it right through the season.

It's good to see that

October 26th, 2009
11:08 am

DirtyBird is skipping school today when maybe he should be paying attention in English class.

Where do we even go from here…
“Saints is much better team and superdome is more louder compare to cowboys team and their stadium..”

falcons luva

October 26th, 2009
11:08 am

The Cowboys didn’t do anything exceptional against the Birds. The Birds just laid down for them. Where were Ryan’s blockers? We need taller CBs to take on the WRs in the league these days. They also need to learn how to tackle. Good thing Eric Coleman has started to step up his game a little bit. Jason Snelling doing a good job filliing in for the injured, he’s definitely a keeper. But we’re going to need more RBs, and while we’re at it pick up some more mean Harvey Dahl-type Defensive players. Let’s get nasty birds. Southern Hospitality doesn’t extend to the football playing field. Let’s be the team that knocks the Saints off their pedestals and reclaim the NFC South!

Keep it Real!

October 26th, 2009
11:09 am

Um…No this game did not have shoot-out written all over it!

The Cowboys made plays and the Falcons did not! Matty R. was holding the ball too long. The o-cordinator needed to go to the no-huddle offense!

falcons luva

October 26th, 2009
11:09 am

I also hope we can pick up that big Safety at USC next Draft… and Mount Cody on Defense from Alabama!

E

October 26th, 2009
11:10 am

We need a starting corner before next week. Grimes will get torched by Brees if we don’t!!!!!!!!!!!

falcons luva

October 26th, 2009
11:11 am

Bottom Line, Falcons should NOT have lost this game. They played mediocre and the Cowboys were NOT the better team here. Mularkey needs to learn how to switch it up so opposing teams can’t get a grasp of what we’re doing. Van Gorder I’m not impressed with. The D-line shows just how NOT good he is with them.

falcons luva

October 26th, 2009
11:12 am

So true E! I liked Brent Grimes, he has heart… but too bad his size is not as big as the heart. And I can’t believe the Cowboys O-line was better than Biermann and Abraham. It’s just not possible.

mike

October 26th, 2009
11:12 am

brooking = no class crybaby.
did anyone expect anything different?

Saints Fan

October 26th, 2009
11:15 am

Falcons luva,

Thats what Joey Porter thought too…And you see what happend there…

It's good to see that

October 26th, 2009
11:15 am

Keep it Real, it surely did but obviously never made it there. Dallas’ secondary is nothing special…

Roswell Saint

October 26th, 2009
11:16 am

Shock and Awe awaits the poor little dirty birds on Oct. 2. hahahahahahahahaha

MAD-DONNA

October 26th, 2009
11:19 am

The o-line and the d-line blew that game. Not enough time for our QB, and too much time for theirs……PERIOD!!!!!

Humble Fan

October 26th, 2009
11:19 am

falcon fans get it through your heads, this team is a lower tier NFC team on line with the bottom feeders of the NFL

Lame

October 26th, 2009
11:23 am

LOL Ware looks like he is raping Ryan in the pic.

Falcfan

October 26th, 2009
11:23 am

In my opinion one of the biggest things we learned from the Dallas game is that our concerns are hugely justified when it comes to Turner. He is fat slow and very ineffective this year. Snelling outgained him in one drive behind the same offensive line. For an offense that defines itself by the run the pass will be almost nonexistant without the run. Either Mularky switches to a pass oriented scheme or he is going to have to fire Turner up. Personally I think Turner needs to sit until some responsibility shows up. Also Michael Jenkins is killing our offense. Ryan can’t even look his way because he either isn’t open or doesn’t catch it. In the rare event he does he falls right down. Personally, Weems really deserves more playing time. I know the coaches say Jenkins can block but it doesn’t really matter if we can’t run anyway. Besides I don’t think I’ve actually seen Turner get outside yet this season. That’s my two cents. Go Falcons!

E

October 26th, 2009
11:24 am

I hope we all know that its not time to panic. 2 good DB’s and a little more NO HUDDLE and we will be fine. To bad we won’t have the DB’s before MNF

It's good to see that

October 26th, 2009
11:26 am

Falcfan makes great points, unlike a few others on here…

TruFalconFan

October 26th, 2009
11:28 am

Wow! overreact much. We lost a road game to a motivated team coming off a bye. Are we going to the superbowl this year? No. Are we a good young team that is going to continue to get better over the next few years? YES. Go ahead and jump off the bandwagon. Most of you guys aren’t true fans anyway. And to all the Saints fans, enjoy your little moment in the sun because if you don’t win the superbowl it is all for nothing.

Humble Fan

October 26th, 2009
11:28 am

Falcfac–if thats your two cents worth–you need some change back.

TheTruthHurts

October 26th, 2009
11:32 am

Brooking showed how classless he really is with his actions during the game, his comments after the game and his cry baby attitude. Sure the Falcons stunk up the place and got beat, but Brooking had nothing to do with that. Dallas’ D-line manhandled the Falcon’s O-line and that’s why the Cowboy’s won the game. Besides that, Brooking has to find something to motivate him to play the game. Ray Lewis does not need extra motivation to elevate his game.

michael james

October 26th, 2009
11:35 am

we cant let this game ruin our season. only one game think we will be alright. remember the cowboys had two weeks to prepare and we are not healthy on offense too

Falcons Minority Owner

October 26th, 2009
11:38 am

“Pressure affects the passing game,” Ryan said……….Hmmmmm, is that an example of taking responsibility or blaming others?

gdg73

October 26th, 2009
11:38 am

Thank you Mr. Ledbetter for your dead on observations. We lost that game after our second offensive drive. Why come out, empty backfield on that drive when that is not what got you the first touchdown? Stick to what works until they make adjustments. Mularkey and company got too cute with the p[lay-calling and it killed us. A 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter would have demoralized the Cowboys.
Also, Matt Ryan was not good today, sorry to say. He looked like a deer in the headlights after Dallas started pressuring him. He never looked downfield for any of his receivers, even when he did have time. He has fallen in love with Tony Gonzalez too much if you ask me. Roddy White is your game-changer Mularkey. Find ways to get him involved.
As far as the defense goes, our corners are starting corners are terrible. Once they get torched by New Orleans, it will be apparrent that they need to be benched, a la Dan Reeves benching the entire secondary in 2003. I like our safeties though. Owens and Tye Hill need to run with the first team defense this week in practice, with Jackson in the slot and Houston and Grimes battling for the dime spot. Message to Van Gorder, STOP BLITZING OUR CORNERBACKS OFF THE CORNER. BRING THE PRESSURE FROM UP THE MIDDLE!!!!!!!

Chef montuer

October 26th, 2009
11:41 am

If they can’t get the running game going they are not making the playoffs let alone win the division. Oh by the way SAINTS 53 Birdies 10.
Jachimo-fi-nah-nay!

vafalconfan

October 26th, 2009
11:43 am

Things will be very interesting if we meet them in the wild card playoffs. Our guys will remember Brooking and his pathetic classless rants..

Brooking, showing GT class

October 26th, 2009
11:44 am

I will be infuriated if the Falcons ever announce intentions of raising Brooking’s name to the GA Dome rafters. I’m glad to see that overrated 2-tackles-a-game buster playing elsewhere; I just wish he had been shipped off before losing the playoff game for us last year.

S.D. Lucke

October 26th, 2009
11:45 am

We fans of the 5 time Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys, want to thank Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and the rest of the overrated Atlanta Falcons for cutting our newest favorite linebacker Keith Brooking. 11 years in Atlanta, and you idiots STILL did’nt know what you had. A hard nosed player, sure tackler, emotional leader and player of great character. The Falcons have been an overhyped, pumped up team, with a qb who in nearly 1.5 seasons was made out to be the next coming of Johnny Unitas. What he and the Falcons fan base found out yesterday is that he’s not special. He’s not the next Unitas. More importantly that this Falcons team IS NOT better then the Cowboys! They got their collective butts kicked in all three phases of the game. Mike Smith defensive genius? I think not. Roddy White and Michael Jenkins top ranked receiving duo in the league? Are you serious? Tony Gonzalez the best TE in football? Was he even on the field yesterday? The Cowboys Offense shredded the “Dirty Turds” yesterday with an undrafted qb (Romo) and an undrafted wr (Miles Austin). Add in a castoff linebacker (Keith Brooking), a guy who was out of football the last 3 years until this season (Junior Siavii) and the most dominating defensive player on the field (Demarcus Ware) and you have the makings of a Super Bowl Contender. Keith Brooking was tremendous yesterday. You whining wimps want to say he showed no class? Look, this is the NFL. Trash talking happens, it’s a part of the game. However, it aint trash talking if you can back it up! You clowns are mad because Broooking and ‘The Boys, backed it up.You’re mad because you were sipping the Falcon Fool-Aid, thinking your team was better than they are. You’re mad because you actually thought that the “Dirty Turds” we’re gonna go into the greatest stadium on the planet and beat the Dallas Cowboys. You’re mad because Keith Brooking showed your team and your linebackers what being an NFL linebacker and a leader is. Face it Falcon fools, you’re not good. You’re qb is not special. You’re defense has more holes in it than a spaghetti strainer, and your offense is just ordinary. Now you can get ready to get your butts whipped by the Saints. You can live with the knowledge that the Cowboys started your 2009 demise. I am loving every moment of your hurt and dismay. Ok I’m done. Let the Falcon bitchfest continue! We now return you back to the ledge, where the Falcons fans prepare to jump off!

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

October 26th, 2009
11:48 am

You missed a couple Team. Here are a couple of things that I’m learning about the Birds:

(1) Smiths whole mantra about playing the best man may be bull. Really?!?!? #23 Houston is the best you got at corner? #20 is the best you got??? These two are BAD. Period. While Grimes at least got his hands on a couple of balls, Houston has not made a play on the ball in weeks. Houston looks completely confused as if he does not know the coverage, or that he is covering a deep third where there is no receiver. He should NOT get another contract from the Birds. Maybe he, and not Jamal Anderson #98, should be shown the door???

2) Our ability to adjust is non existent. Same thing happened in New England. We come out smoking..teams adjust, we have no answer. Period. Well, here is an answer Mularkey and Smith: THROW DEEP BALLS TO YOUR GUYS TO MAKE PLAYS!!! USE SNELLING MORE (HE IS ACTUALLY IN SHAPE)!!! TRY SOMEBODY ELSE AT CORNER!!! This is the league…I simply can’t believe that we can’t find someone to challenge routes. Brent Grimes at corner in the NFL? Please.

3) Like most QBs, Matty Ice does not like to be hit. He took a couple of kead knocks and he started checking down REAL fast. He needs to develop better pocket presence (ala Romo) so that he can sidestep rushers. As it stands, when the pocket is threatened, we are COOKED.

4) Snelling is a player. Period. Use him in Norwood’s role and use Norwood in the role that you had Harry Douglas slated for. Whatever the case…get #44 the ball early and often.

This was embarrassing because we it looked like we were beaten in very specific match-ups. Our blitzing safety (#22) could not beat their running back to get to the QB…or our right tackle could not block their DE…or our corners could not cover their undrafted WRs. Losing #29 was big…but even more telling is how he came to start in the first place (was in camp for 72 hours and became the best CB we have on the team).

Monday night could get ugly…on national TV. Anybody else out there that we could sign off the street and make them a starter at CB? Might be better than anything we have right now.

FBD

gdg73

October 26th, 2009
11:48 am

P.S.,
Is Antonio Cromartie going to be a free agent in 2010? What we need is at least one starting CB with man-to-man coverage abilities and ball skills. At this point, we don’t need any rookies at this position, we need a young proven veteran. We need to spend some $$$$ at the CB position in free agency. You can’t go cheap there, sorry!!! More times than not, you get what you pay for (see Mr. Burnt “Division III” Grimes and Mr. Crisp “No Ball Skills” Houston).

Bullish-on-the-Falcons

October 26th, 2009
11:51 am

Good DBs arent just sitting on the couches waiting to be called. Trade deadline has passed. Any worthwhile free agent – well – wouldn’t be a free agent anymore.

It became abundantly clear that unless we get two players on the D-line into double-digit sacks by the end of the year that we will not live up to the hype that we all believe. Pressure on the QB is the only way to compensate for weak secondary. Next year we need a quality free agent CB to play immediately and a great 1st/2nd round CB/SS/FS/DT in the draft.

Tye Hill? Nothing? Is he learning 1/4th of a play a day? At this pace maybe he has the playbook down by 2012.

The best defense we can have? A good run game. Take time off the clock. Keep the secondary off the field. Turner looks like his parking brake is still on.

That game disgusted me.

#1 Falcon Fan

October 26th, 2009
11:51 am

the run game never got going…Not sure what’s wrong with Turner, but Snelling was running much better than him and he should have touched the ball more. No pass rush on Romo even when we blitzed and still couldn’t get to him…BUT the cowboys were able to sack Ryan 4 times and put pressure on him all day without blitzing! Your pass defense is only as good as your pass rush and we had no pass rush, so you can’t blame the DB’s for being out of position, when the QB has 10 seconds in the pocket to look for his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th option. MAN it’s gonna be a long night come Monday against the Saints..hopefully Brees with throw 3 int like he did yesterday! If we get the run game going and keep the Saints offense on the sideline, we can win this game!

FSJR

October 26th, 2009
11:52 am

Can you say MARTY-BALL? Our coaching staff did not impose will into our players in the New England game nor the Dallas game by saying, “you’re going to convert this 4th down and keep us in this.” Instead, they either have a lack of confidence in the players or guts in their play-calling. That fourth and short in the fourth quarter was the perfect time to tell your team, “take this game back”!

Roswell Falcon

October 26th, 2009
11:53 am

Hey Roswell Saint. Take your bad mouthing comments back to LA where they belong. We don’t need you here. If you need any boxes I’ll be glad to help you pack up.

SOUTH GA BIRD FAN

October 26th, 2009
11:55 am

The defense is going to hurt us all year New orleans will be a slaughter , I am just hoping the birds can recover and shoot for 9-7 it would be great to break the streak, but we can very very easily be at 4-4 or 4-5 when this stretch is over , the offense was a letdown. The offense can improve but i agree with most of the sane posters that turner is done and it may be time to look for other options , so much for norwood staying healty enough to be the feature back , I wonder if we can trade grimes for adrian peterson ( a man can dream can’t he )
GO FALCONS 9-7 ALL THE WAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Falcfan

October 26th, 2009
12:05 pm

Humble fan… I respect your freedom to disagree with me, but if you wish to demean my opinion then please do so with some reasoning. I have looked at stats and watched all the games and have a basis for my opinions. So if you wish to degrade me the support your comments.

Thanks
FalcFan

Jeffro Bodeen

October 26th, 2009
12:06 pm

Michael Jenkins can be knocked over with a feather. Did you see the play where he and RW ran into each other? Comical to say the least. I knew we were in for a bad day when Finnegan was all of a sudden a go to guy. Still not quite there Birds. We will finish 9 – 7.

Chess

October 26th, 2009
12:07 pm

Grimes got roasted at DB.

XsandOs

October 26th, 2009
12:07 pm

Like I have stated many times before….what you saw yesterday were the same problems the Falcons had when we had Vick at the helm..All of the sacks at that time were not all Vicks fault like yesterday with the o-line getting tossed around like ragdolls getting matt ryan sacked several times…our receiving core just simply doesnt always man up and get open like when Roddy White got knocked on his @ss yesterday while dropping the ball..Defensively, our secondary is garbage plain and simple..Drew Brees is gonna have a field day against these clowns…The falcons are a pretty good team but they’re not great and it was proven yesterday when they let an average QB have a pro-bowl time performance against them…Simply..the Falcons have just got to man up or they’ll be facing many Sundays like yesterday…