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Cowboys put last week firmly behind them, author dominant first half

Dallas came racing out the gates, with touchdowns on four of their first five possessions
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (88) catches a pass as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Avery Williams (35) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys are just fine, folks.

Whatever concerns you had after last week's ugly performance against the Denver Broncos, you can shelve them. That was an overconfident football team, that took their opponent lightly, and got punched in the mouth for it.

Today, the Cowboys have shown they learned that lesson quite well. And they're dominating.

Dallas took the opening kickoff, and drove straight down the field, 73 yards in 8 plays, to race out to a 7-0 lead, as Dak Prescott hit CeeDee Lamb in the front left corner of the endzone. Freshly returned Michael Gallup had a key first down reception on the drive, and the Cowboys looked crisp, efficiently moving the ball against the Falcons overmatched defense.

The Cowboys defense, also heavily maligned after last week's lackluster performance, bounced back themselves. A solid opening drive for Atlanta ultimately stalled, when the Cowboys got three quality plays in a row to get a stop, culminating in Jayron Kearse's pass breakup on third down, forcing an Atlanta field goal.

A Dallas three & out followed. But the defense picked up the slack, forcing a turnover on downs on the next Atlanta series, as Jourdan Lewis made consecutive pass breakups to end the Falcons possession.

And then the Cowboys offense really got cooking. Back-to-back touchdown drives in the second quarter, both finishing with short Ezekiel Elliott touchdown runs. A huge 4th down conversion by Dak Prescott and Gallup was crucial to the second of the back-to-back touchdowns, as Gallup made a dazzling toe-tapping catch on the sideline, to give Dallas 1st & Goal.

And then, if they hadn't done enough in the opening half, the Cowboys finished off their fourth touchdown drive of the day with a gorgeous, looping pass to the corner of the endzone, finding Lamb for the second time on the day. The Falcons sent a blitz, Prescott had pressure right in his face, and he lofted it up and let Lamb run underneath it on the far sideline.

And it was 28-3.

We'll refrain from the joke, for Dan Quinn's sake...but lucky for him, the Cowboys special teams didn't let the score stay 28-3 for long. In a bit of karma, after last week's bizarre blocked punt, and the illegal touching by Nahshon Wright that led the Broncos to regain possession, the Cowboys again blocked a punt. And this time, it was Wright who was the beneficiary, recovering the blocked punt in the endzone for the Cowboys touchdown.

Dallas would go for 2, after a penalty on the Falcons, and they would convert.

And it's a 36-3 laugher at halftime, at AT&T Stadium.