The Dallas Cowboys couldn’t keep the ball in their hands on Sunday afternoon.
They fumbled three times not even midway through the first quarter of their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons, and then a fourth time later in the period as they plunged into a 20-point hole.
The start, to put it mildly, was not what new head coach Mike McCarthy was looking for.
Yet somehow, it didn’t stop them from winning the game — thanks to a wild comeback capped by an onside kick and last-second field goal to give Dallas the 40-39 win over the Falcons.
Cowboys fumble early, often
Dallas running back Tony Pollard lost the ball on Dallas’s second offensive play of the game, though that call was reversed after a review determined he was down before losing the ball. The Cowboys failed to convert the first down a play later and punted the ball away.
On their second drive of the day, quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked and lost the ball as he went down. It was quickly recovered by Falcons defensive end John Comisky, setting up Atlanta on the Dallas 22-yard line.
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The Falcons quickly capitalized as Matt Ryan hit Calvin Ridley for a 22-yard score on the very first play of the drive.
The Cowboys ran just four plays into their next drive before losing the ball again.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott lost the ball on a 4-yard run, which the Falcons converted into a touchdown almost instantly after Ryan found Hayden Hurst for a 42-yard score.
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The fourth fumble came late in the first quarter after the Falcons kicked a field goal to take a 17-0 lead.
Tight end Dalton Schultz lost the ball as he was tackled by Foyesade Oluokun on an eight-yard completion. Atlanta kicked a field goal following that turnover, taking the 20-point lead.
The Falcons’ 20 points in the first quarter marked the most the Cowboys have given up in an opening quarter since 1985. If there was any way for Dallas to rebound after dropping their Week 1 matchup to the Los Angeles Rams, this wasn’t it.
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