4:00 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1: (DAL ball, no score / fourth-and-goal, ATL 3 / 2:56 Q1)
• Brett Maher kicked a 21-yard field goal to give the Cowboys the lead in what would be a close game. Early in the game, many coaches would have attempted to find the end zone here rather than get on the board with a field goal.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (DAL ball, leading 18-9 / PAT attempt / 12:26 Q4)
• Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 23-yard touchdown run to give Dallas a nine-point lead. Brett Maher had missed an extra point earlier, but here he makes the PAT to give the Cowboys a 19-9 lead.
Many teams would try to chase the points and attempt a 2-point conversion in this situation. However, the Cowboys decided smartly that they would prefer to have the 10-point advantage here rather than roll the dice and go up 11. This would prove wise as the game would be tied late. Had they tried to get this point back here and failed, they would have been down late in the game.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (DAL ball, game tied 19-19/ third-and-5, DAL 30 / 1:38 Q4)
• Geoff Swaim catches a Dak Prescott pass and is tackled in the middle of the field. The Cowboys must hurry to the line, but the Falcons give them a break when Dan Quinn calls a timeout. This gives the Cowboys the opportunity to regroup and take their time to make a third down call that results in a first down that allows the Cowboys to extend their drive, and eventually win the game. Had Quinn not called the timeout and assuming Dallas did not call one of their own, Atlanta would have had the ball with about one minute left and all three timeouts in decent field position.
We see the value in both calling and not calling a timeout, but it gave a team with offensive struggles on the road a chance to collect themselves and move the ball down the field.
• This was a field goal contest for most of the game, as the first five scores were field goals. There were no touchdowns scored in the game until the fourth quarter.
• Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott powered the Cowboys to victory with 122 yards rushing on 23 carries, including a 23-yard touchdown, as well as gaining 79 yards on seven receptions.
• Dallas has won two games in a row, both against 2017 playoff teams (Philadelphia and Atlanta).
• The annual Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game will likely impact the playoffs. They play the Washington Redskins, the NFC East division leader. The Cowboys have the opportunity to eliminate the Redskins’ one-game lead.
• Atlanta is now 4-6 and they face the division-leading Saints on Thursday night.