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Third Quarter: Still Down by 10


One game after he set a Cowboys' franchise record with 250 receiving yards, wide receiver Miles Austin is hurting the Falcons badly.

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound receiver has two touchdown receptions and the second one in the third quarter bulged Dallas' lead back to 10 points, as it was at halftime. For the game, Austin has 144 yards on five receptions. Brent Grimes, at the right cornerback, is having a tough time with him. I wonder if the Falcons will go to Tye Hill in that spot. Hill is active for the first time this season.

Take a look at this trend, one that could be both troubling and positive for the Falcons. They have rushed for more than 100 yards and Jason Snelling has 68 of them on only seven carries (9.7 per carry). They have rushed for 124 yards, but passed for only 100.

"Snelling is becoming a big factor in this game, especially on this drive, Fox's Thom Brennaman said on the Falcons' touchdown drive.

Meanwhile, Michael Turner may be continuing to have his struggles, but he scored his seventh touchdown of the season. That puts him on a pace for nearly 19 this season. Regardless of his yards' tallies, I think the Falcons will take that. Turner, by the way, has 50 yards on 18 carries (2.8 per carry).

Fox broadcaster Troy Aikman, after noting that the Falcons did some things poorly in the first half that they had not all season, like pass protecting, noted how they succeeded on their first drive of the second half.

"This is a pretty good start," Aikman said, citing a block by right tackle Tyson Clabo on Dallas' dangerous linebacker DeMarcus Ware on a 9-yard reception by Michael Jenkins.

Other observations:

Dallas has eight penalties for 50 yards. A lot of them are false starts and offsides by both offense and defense. Aikman pointed out that one was particularly costly on the Falcons' touchdown drive, as it gave the Falcons a third-down conversion. Apparently it's been a season-long trend for Dallas. Said Brennaman, "If you're a Cowboy fan, it's a legitimate question: How does this continue to happen?" *

Aikman noted one play in which the Falcons kept eight players in to block, a possible solution to the Falcons' first-half pass protection woes. *

Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson, who has a tackle for a loss today, went out with an injury. He could be a reason why Dallas' running game is starting to gain traction. *

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