Three keys to Falcons game

1. The Falcons' secondary gave up its second consecutive 300-plus-yard passing effort. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo completed 21 of 29 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Unlike Chicago's Jay Cutler, who passed for 300 yards last week against the Falcons, Romo was careful with the ball and didn't throw any interceptions. The Falcons were playing their first game without cornerback Brian Williams, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week against Chicago. The secondary unit is not playing well as the team is set to face New Orleans and its vaunted passing attack.

2. The Falcons' offensive line had their helmets handed to them by Dallas' defensive front. The unit entered the game not having allowed a sack over the last 133 passing attempts. They had only given up two sacks on the season. The Cowboys posted four sacks. DeMarcus Ware had two sacks. Marcus Spears had one and Jay Ratliff had one. Ratliff was a one-man wrecking crew in the middle of the line going against center Todd McClure and the guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock. He also had four tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble.

3. Who's this Miles Austin kid? Falcons cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Chris Houston know who he is now.  He finished with six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons. One was on a blown coverage, where he ran across the defense and away from safety Thomas DeCoud for a 59-yard touchdown.  The other was a 22-yard touchdown reception where he broke away from Grimes. This was Austin's second NFL start. In his first career start, he caught 10 passes for team-record 250 yards receiving against Kansas City. Austin is a big receiver at 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, and was a mismatch for Grimes, who's listed at 5-foot-10, 181 pounds.

By the numbers

11:23 – The time the Falcons possessed the ball in the first quarter, which included a 16-play touchdown drive that took 8:34 off the clock.

2 – The Falcons had only given up two sacks entering the game, but gave up back-to-back sacks by Marcus Spears and DeMarcus Ware in the first quarter.

2 – Number of tackles by Dallas linebacker Keith Brooking.

31 – Longest run of the game. Jason Snelling broke loose for it in the third quarter.

66.1 – Matt Ryan's quarterback rating. He completed 19 of 35 passes for 198 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.


• Roddy White's 4-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter was his fifth of the season.

• Linebacker Spencer Adkins and cornerback Tye Hill were both active for the first time this season. Adkins, a rookie, played on the kickoff return team. Hill did not play in the game.

• Fullback Verron Haynes helped to keep the Falcons' game-opening drive going. On third-and-8 from the Atlanta 33, he caught a pass for a 10-yard gain.

• Safety Jamaal Fudge, who was added to the roster this week, played on special teams. He was called for a holding penalty in the second quarter on a kickoff return.

• The tight end matchup was a wash. Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez had four catches for 37 yards. Dallas' Jason Witten had five catches for 53 yards.

Injury report

Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson (calf): Was injured in the third quarter and did not return.