Observations from Cowboys-Falcons


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Here are a few quick-hitting observations from the Cowboys' 37-21 win over the Falcons on Sunday:

  • The Cowboys decided to play nose tackle Junior Siavii earlier in the game than usual and that seemed to help starter Jay Ratliff. Siavii did a really nice job against Michael Turner and he helped collapse the pocket against Matt Ryan. He said it was his goal for the defense's production not to fall off while he was on the field -- and I'd say he accomplished that.

  • I'm not sure what was going on with Roy Williams, but at least for one game, the Cowboys didn't need him. With Miles Austin having another big day, Williams finished with one catch for 16 yards. He dropped at least one ball and he cut off his route on another. He said his ribs weren't bothering him, but I thought he looked lost on the field. Williams is a very willing blocker, but he was acquired to catch passes. Right now, he's playing more like a No. 3 receiver.

  • I'm the first to rip Wade Phillips, so let's give the man a little credit today. This hasn't been the fierce pass-rush that we anticipated, but on Sunday, Phillips did a nice job of putting his players in winning situations. When Marcus Spears and Stephen Bowen are breaking through to rush the passer, it creates so many more options. That opened things up for DeMarcus Ware later in the game. This has not been a big-play defense, but the Cowboys won the turnover battle against the Falcons. It was pretty impressive.

  • Is Ratliff the best player on this defense? I think Ware's one of the most dynamic players in the league, but I truly think this defense feeds off Ratliff's energy. I'm not sure there's another player on the team who can match his intensity. The Falcons' center didn't know what to do with Ratliff. He'd get bull-rushed for a little while and then he'd get humiliated by Ratliff's speed. This is a guy who will keep going to Pro Bowls for years to come.