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Early Bird Report: What we learned from Falcons' loss in Week 2

The top Falcons headlines from around the country 

There's no getting around the fact that Sunday's 40-39 defeat against the Dallas Cowboys stings, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said so himself after the game.

He also told his players to look for lessons to take from this loss that they can apply to the remaining 14 games in the 2020 season. Despite how well they played for much of the game, stringing together some long answering drives on offense, converting some crucial fourth downs and creating three turnovers on defense, there were some timely miscues that were apparent as well.

In his recap for, writer Adam Patra detailed some of those miscues and how they ultimately overshadowed some of the glowing aspects of this game for the Falcons.

"It seemed like someone put baby oil on the Cowboys pigskin early," Patra writes. "Dallas fumbled four times in the first quarter, losing three of them to allow Atlanta to bounce out to a big lead. The Cowboys' first five possessions went: three-and-out, fumble, fumble, turnover on downs on a poor fake punt pass, fumble. The Falcons could have been up by more had they not settled for field goals on two short-field possessions early in the game. Each time the Cowboys seemed to cut the gap, the Falcons appeared to answer. But several miscues cost Atlanta. A missed two-point try early kept the deficit to two at the end. Julio Jones dropped a sure TD on a pass from WR Russell Gage. And settling for four FGs came back to bite ATL. The Falcons' collapse will overshadow another huge game from Calvin Ridley (7/109/2), who continues to score TDs and get separation with ease. Ridley is proving he's not a No. 2 WR, but rather a 1B to Julio."

Week 2 NFL takeaways

With the additional wildcard spot now in effect around the NFL, an 0-2 hole might not be what it once was. Still, after looking for much of the afternoon that this Falcons team would sit at 1-1 after a great performance, it's tough to grapple with. Dan Quinn said he's taking a week-to-week approach with this team, which means all attention is now turned towards Chicago for an important Week 3 game, something Vaughn McClure mentions in his takeaways for

"No matter how you dissect it, this was an embarrassing loss for the Falcons and one that could linger the rest of the season," Quinn said. "An 0-2 start was not what owner Arthur Blank signed up for when he decided to keep both coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after back-to-back 7-9 seasons. Yes, it's too early to rule the Falcons out of playoff contention, but a fast start was critical, especially with how difficult NFC South play will be against Drew Brees' Saints and Tom Brady's Bucs. Quinn said he's going to take things game by game, and he gave an emphatic "No,'' when asked whether any coaching changes would be made. The Falcons have no choice but to turn it around against a surprisingly undefeated Bears team next week at home, or else they could find themselves 0-4 out of the gate with a road trip to Green Bay in Week 4."

Week 2 PFF refocused

As should be expected from a 40-39 score, both the Falcons and Cowboys offenses had plenty of standout moments on Sunday. Matt Ryan had four touchdowns and no interceptions, Calvin Ridley scored two touchdowns for the second-straight game and Hayden Hurst got into the end zone for the first time as a Falcon. In his recap of the action, Pro Football Focus writer Steve Palazzolo had some good things to say about Atlanta's offense.

"On the other side, quarterback Matt Ryan and the Falcons' pass-catchers had a solid day against the Dallas back seven," Palazzolo writes. "Ryan got away with a few risky throws that should have been intercepted, so his four-touchdown, zero-interception stat line is a bit deceptive. However, he did a nice job getting the ball to wideout Calvin Ridley, whose slick route-running led to 109 yards and two scores.

"Wide receiver Julio Jones will want one back after dropping a perfect deep pass from fellow wide receiver Russell Gage, and he finished with just 24 yards on two catches. The Falcons always do a fine job of scheming up production from of their tight ends, and Hayden Hurst was on the receiving end of well-drawn Y-sneaks and mesh routes on his way to 72 yards on five catches."

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