A Look Back: Dallas at Atlanta in 1974

Jethro Pugh (75) and the Dallas defense shut out the Atlanta Falcons during the opening week of the 1974 season.

The Cowboys first faced the Atlanta Falcons during Atlanta’s inaugural season in 1966. Dallas won in a 47-14 blowout.

Blowouts were the norm in the early part of this series, as Dallas won the first five games by a combined score of 145-38. The teams played three of these five games at Atlanta.

The last of the five games took place in 1974 during the opening week. The Cowboys had little trouble with the Falcons that day, taking a 17-0 halftime lead on the way to a 24-0 win.

Here is a video with highlights:

It was a nice way to open the season for Dallas, but the weeks that followed were less than great. Dallas lost four in a row and wound up finishing at 8-6. The team missed the playoffs for the first time since 1965.

The Cowboys lost to the Falcons for the first time in 1976, and the teams have been a bit more even in the series after the early domination by the Cowboys. Dallas holds a 16-8 edge in 22 games, including two playoff wins.

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Romo Has a Record-Breaking Day, but Not in a Good Way

No Tebowing in Dallas, but if there were Romoing, it would look something like this.

Tony Romo set a record for passing attempts on Sunday against the Giants and came close to setting a few more. However, nobody will want to remember these numbers. The stat line was as follows:

  • 62 attempts (team record)
  • 36 completions (2nd highest total in team history)
  • 437 yards (3rd highest total in team history)
  • 4 interceptions (tied for the second highest total in team history)
  • 22,907 career yards (now the second highest total in team history, surpassing Roger Staubach)

It stands to reason that the Cowboys have not fared well when quarterbacks have thrown multiple interceptions. However, in the history of the Cowboys, days with big passing yards have also been bad.  Consider these statistics:

Attempts

Only three Dallas quarterbacks have had at least 50 passing attempts in a game. This includes Romo, Troy Aikman, and Vinny Testaverde. The Cowboys’ record in those games: 1-7. Here’s a look:

Passing
Rk Player Age Date Opp Result Att ?
1 Tony Romo 32-190 2012-10-28 NYG L 24-29 62
2 Troy Aikman* 32-005 1998-11-26 MIN L 36-46 57
3 Tony Romo 29-229 2009-12-06 NYG L 24-31 55
4 Troy Aikman* 31-023 1997-12-14 CIN L 24-31 53
5 Troy Aikman* 30-318 1997-10-05 NYG L 17-20 52
6 Tony Romo 30-151 2010-09-19 CHI L 20-27 51
7 Tony Romo 27-170 2007-10-08 BUF W 25-24 50
8 Vinny Testaverde 40-304 2004-09-12 MIN L 17-35 50
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2012.

Completions

Romo is the only Cowboys quarterback with at least 36 completions in a single game. He holds the team record with 41, set in 2009 against the Giants. The result in both games? Losses, of course.

This is the fifth time that Romo has completed at least 34 passes. His record in those games is 1-4. Aikman completed 34 passes twice and lost both games. Jon Kitna completed 34 passes in 2010, and the Cowboys lost.

Yardage

Romo, Aikman, and Don Meredith are each on the list of QBs with 400 yards passing in a game. Their combined record: 1-4.

Passing
Rk Player Age Date Tm Opp Result Yds ?
1 Don Meredith 25-214 1963-11-10 DAL SFO L 24-31 460
2 Troy Aikman* 32-005 1998-11-26 DAL MIN L 36-46 455
3 Tony Romo 32-190 2012-10-28 DAL NYG L 24-29 437
4 Tony Romo 30-172 2010-10-10 DAL TEN L 27-34 406
5 Don Meredith 28-217 1966-11-13 DAL WAS W 31-30 406
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2012.

Interceptions

Not surprisingly, the Cowboys have a terrible record when QBs have thrown at least four interceptions. Romo has now done it three times and has a 1-2 record in those games.  The Cowboys’ historic record when QBs have thrown at least four picks is 5-19.

Danny White had the most games with at least four picks with six. Strangely, though, he had a 4-2 career record in those six games.

Staubach’s Numbers

No surprise that Romo surpassed Staubach in passing yardage.

The comparisons end there. Period.

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