Published November 04, 2012
ATLANTA – Michael Turner had a 3-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give the Atlanta Falcons a 13-6 lead against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
Turner's TD capped a six-play, 81-yard drive and put the Falcons in front of the first time with 14:21 left in the game. Turner also had a 43-yard run to set up the go-ahead score.
Before the big gain, Turner had run 11 times for just 24 yards, but a block by Roddy White on linebacker Bruce Carter created the space Turner needed.
Atlanta's Matt Bryant, who missed just two field-goal attempts in 29 chances last year, pushed his first and fourth kicks wide right on Sunday night, but hit his second and third attempts to make it 6-6 at halftime.
Beginning a drive at the 12-yard line with 1:03 left in the second quarter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed a 20-yard pass to Roddy White and a 22-yarder to Tony Gonzalez to set up the field goal.
White became the leading receiver in Atlanta history late in the third quarter with his 574th career catch.
Dallas entered with a 3-4 record. It had lost three of four and was coming off a home loss to the New York Giants last week.
But the Cowboys had the early upper hand against Atlanta, which began the night 7-0 and was the NFL's last unbeaten team.
The Falcons seemed to have few answers for outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and nose tackle Jay Ratiff, stalwarts of Dallas' defense who were pushing back Atlanta's offensive line and collapsing the pocket around Ryan.
Midway through the second quarter, Ware sacked Ryan for a 7-yard loss and caused a fumble, but White kept the possession alive by falling on the ball at the Dallas 48.
Ratliff was punishing the interior of Atlanta's offensive line before walking off the field with an undisclosed injury late in the second. He was back on the field early in the third.
The Falcons struggled throughout the first quarter.
After their offense went three-and-out on the first possession, Dallas' Dwayne Harris returned a punt 37 yards. He could have scored had Mike Peterson, a 14-year veteran linebacker playing special teams, not made an open-field tackle.
Dallas went ahead 3-0 six plays later on Dan Bailey's 23-yarder, but missed out on a chance for more. Tony Romo appeared to have enough room for a 5-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal, but instead lofted an incomplete pass outside the reach of Cole Beasley in the left corner of the end zone.
Atlanta followed with a seven-play drive that included a 38-yard catch down the left sideline by Julio Jones.
The Falcons then stalled when Carter stuffed Jacquizz Rodgers for a 1-yard loss up the middle and Bryant missed a 37-yard kick.
The Cowboys went up 6-0 on their next possession. Romo avoided pressure on his left side to step up and convert a third-and-20 when Kevin Ogletree ran past Robinson and made a 65-yard catch to the Atlanta 14.
Three plays later, Bailey booted a 32-yarder.
Ryan completed 12 of 17 for 155 yards in the first half. Romo was 10 of 17 for 153 yards.
Dallas was playing without running back DeMarco Murray, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right foot. Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was sidelined by a sprained right ankle, and defensive tackle Peria Jerry left with a knee injury in the second quarter.
Atlanta, which was coming off a 30-17 victory last week at Philadelphia that was one of its most complete games under fifth-year coach Mike Smith, cut the lead to 6-3 on Bryant's 45-yard field early in the second quarter.
Bailey missed a 54-yarder wide left on Dallas' ensuing possession.