The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 4, 2012

Unbeaten Falcons await sliding Cowboys

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The unbeaten Atlanta Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan are playing at an elite level.

It’s hard to say anything similar about the Dallas Cowboys, whose offense can pile up yards, but struggles to hold onto the football.

“When you lose, it eats away at you,” Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said. “You stay up all night thinking about it.”

Ryan has one of the NFL’s best receiving corps in receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White and ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez, the league’s No. 2 career receiver.

But Ryan, despite leading scoring drives on Atlanta’s first six possessions last week, knows the Falcons (7-0) must do a better job at scoring touchdowns — not just field goals — if and when they get into the red zone against Dallas (3-4) at the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

“We had opportunities on those last three that if we execute better you can put up touchdowns,” Ryan said of last week’s 30-17 victory at Philadelphia. “That’s the key. When you get down there and you have opportunities to put six on the board you have to do it. I think when you look at our entire year up until this point that’s something we haven’t done a great job of. We need to be better.”

The Falcons and Cowboys both have significant holes in the middle of their defense.

Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon is sidelined by a low right ankle sprain and will not play. The Cowboys lost linebacker Sean Lee, their leading tackler, to a season-ending toe injury two weeks ago.

Stephen Nicholas will likely assume Weatherspoon’s role as the every-down linebacker, while second-year veteran Akeem Dent will slide into Nicholas’ spot in base and sub-packages.

Weatherspoon, who had played every snap this season before getting hurt in the fourth quarter at Philadelphia, will be tough to replace with 44 solo tackles, two passes defended, three sacks, four tackles for lost yardage, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014

  • Aggie’s QB Chuckie Keeton talk dominates Mountain West media day

    LAS VEGAS — Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton got his junior season off to a superb start, only to have it derailed by a knee injury in Game 6....

    July 24, 2014

  • Heavily favored U.S. group faces off against world’s best female golfers

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The inaugural International Crown is unique for what it isn’t. Thirty-two elite players from eight countries will compete at Caves Valley Golf Club to determine which nation has the best women’s players in the world. ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Weir, DeLaet attempt to end 60-year Open drought

    MONTREAL — Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open....

    July 24, 2014

  • Pyrenees help leader Nibali, winner Rogers in Stage 16

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Pyrenees on Tuesday lived up to their reputation for causing ups and downs at the Tour de France: A French rider climbed in the standings, an American went down, and an Australian rebounding from an ordeal ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Mountain stage rough on Yankee rider

    BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France — The Tour de France entered the Pyrenees on Tuesday for the first of three mountain stages that may well determine the final podium of this year’s race....

    July 23, 2014

  • Strong prefers not talking about a national title

    DALLAS — Charlie Strong riled up plenty of Texas fans during a statewide spring tour by saying the Longhorns wouldn’t be in the national championship game....

    July 23, 2014