The Atlanta Falcons exist, exclusively, to torture their fans. Their ability to find new and (to those of us on the outside) hilarious ways to lose never ceases to amaze, and on Sunday they put together another legendary collapse in Dallas.
Atlanta couldn’t be stopped early on, aided by some Dallas turnovers, and at one point held a 29-10 lead. Now, Falcons fans more than anyone understand that no lead in the NFL is safe, but the way they managed to blow this one was truly incredible. Atlanta’s offense would score 10 more points, as it wasn’t an offensive meltdown that led to the loss, but suddenly the defense couldn’t get a stop. After a Cowboys touchdown just inside the two minute warning on a Dak Prescott quarterback sneak, Dallas still needed a successful onside kick to have a chance.
The result was one of the funniest things you’ll see in the NFL this year, as they hooked a snaking, rolling kick that for some reason Atlanta refused to pick up, until it barely got 10 yards downfield and the Cowboys managed to fall on it.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 20, 2020
Atlanta certainly wasn’t thinking it’d make it 10 yards and didn’t want to touch it and not control it to give Dallas a chance, but even so, with how slow it was moving, to not have a bunch of guys around the ball ready to pounce if it did make it that far is just horrific.
A completion to rookie CeeDee Lamb got the Cowboys down near the 30, and from there they decided to play for a long field goal — which is always a dangerous move — with a pair of inside handoffs to set up a 45 yarder from Greg Zuerlein in the final seconds. The nice thing about having a great kicker is they can make incredibly conservative play-calling look good, and Zuerlein buried the game-winner as time expired to give Dallas a 40-39 win in the most improbable of fashion.
COWBOYS WIN! #ATLvsDAL
— NFL (@NFL) September 20, 2020
It’s a horrendous loss for the Falcons, who now fall to 0-2 on the season, while the Cowboys avoid that fate themselves with the most improbable of comebacks. When the NFC playoff race is being decided we may very well look back at this game as a very important one, and one the Falcons will kick themselves for.