The big news this week was that the Cowboys would be without running back Ezekiel Elliott after a federal appeals court ruled that he would start his six-game suspension. The bigger factor on the field for Dallas on Sunday was star left tackle Tyron Smith being sidelined with back and groin injuries.
The Falcons landed seven sacks on Dak Prescott. Four of those were allowed by Chaz Green, Smith’s replacement. Green, who earned a grade of 14.2 from Pro Football Focus, was finally benched in the fourth quarter, but the damage was done.
"I feel like this is on my shoulders," Green told reporters after the game, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. "I let the team down."
Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had himself a day. He finished with six sacks on Sunday, which is the most any player has had in a single game this season. Calais Campbell previously held the record with four against the Texans.
Clayborn’s six-sack game is one of the best in NFL history. Fred Dean, Derrick Thomas, and Osi Umenyiora are the only other players to have games with that many sacks. Thomas also holds the record for most sacks in a game, with seven.
Sunday afternoon a first for the Cowboys defense.
No opponent in Cowboys history has ever gotten 5 sacks in one game _ ever _ until Atlanta's Adrian Clayborn faced LT Chaz Green this afternoon.— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) November 12, 2017
Defensive tackle Dontari Poe has the other sack. Clayborn and Courtney Upshaw have each added a hit on Prescott, and the front seven is getting pressure consistently.
It showed in Prescott’s box score. He completed 19-of-29 passes for 176 yards and no touchdowns. He also lost one fumble.
Smith’s injury is causing all kinds of problems for the Cowboys offense. But they’re definitely missing Elliott, too.
1. Tyron's replacement has allowed 4 sacks— David Helman (@HelmanDC) November 12, 2017
2. Zeke's replacements have 53 combined rushing yards
3. Bailey's replacement just missed from 38
4. Lee's replacements have several missed tackles
It was a rough day for the Cowboys all around — the Falcons won the game 27-7.