It’s Cowboys week. The Falcons will have to saddle up to take on former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who is now the Dallas defensive coordinator, and Keanu Neal’s familiar face. They’ll have to get by one of the NFL’s best offenses, a team that’s 6-2 and looking like they’ll run away with the NFC East this year.
As has become our custom this year, we’re kicking this thing off by asking what the defining moment of the series has been between these two teams. As is also somewhat custom, my nomination is not going to exactly make your morning.
Unfortunately, this series hasn’t necessarily been a happy one for Atlanta, as Dallas leads 18-11. The Falcons lost the most recent matchup by one point thanks to an infamous fiasco—we’ll let Adnan Ikic absorb the psychic damage from re-living that one in Saturday’s series history article—but the Cowboys have generally handled their business for long stretches against Atlanta. Things were a bit different under Dan Quinn, who
I’m going with the 1980 playoff game (technically in 1981), as it underlines both that this series has tended to go Dallas’ way and happens to be the most high-stakes moment in the entire series. The Falcons had carved out a 24-10 lead by the end of the third quarter of this one thanks to a William Andrews touchdown grab on a 12 yard pass from Steve Bartkowski, but they would only score three points in the fourth quarter and Dallas would score 20, a collapse that unfortunately would set the tone for big Falcons playoff moments to come. After absorbing a loss like that and not proceeding to beat up the Cowboys routinely for 40 straight years, this is unfortunately the closest thing these two teams have as a defining game and moment.
Let’s hope the Falcons make a new, happy memory on Sunday by beating the Cowboys. What would you choose as the defining moment of this series?