The Atlanta Falcons will be kicking themselves after a brutal collapse against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Falcons had jumped out to a 20-0 lead on Dallas at the end of the first quarter, and held a 39-24 advantage with just eight minutes to go. The Cowboys managed to storm back to within two, but the real moment that turned the game was Atlanta’s baffling attempt to recover Dallas’ onside kick with 1:49 left.
Atlanta appeared to be in position to at least try to fall on the ball and ensure the Cowboys didn’t get another chance. Instead, they just stared at the kick until Dallas’ C.J. Goodwin swooped in and scooped it up. It was almost as if Atlanta’s players didn’t know they could pick the ball up before it went ten yards.
The Dallas Cowboys just converted an onside kick to comeback and beat the Falcons.
Only 12 out of 114 onside kicks have been converted in the past two seasons (10.5%).
Dallas bottomed out at a 2% probability of winning this game. pic.twitter.com/S9lJP2xG2q
— Barstool Sabermetrics (@sabermetrics) September 20, 2020
Ironically, it was the Falcons who had been more prepared on special teams earlier in the game. Dallas ran two fake punts, and the Falcons immediately seemed to sense that something was up on the second one and were more than ready for it.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 20, 2020
That preparation disappeared at the end of the game. Atlanta’s defense was on its heels for the entire fourth quarter. Their special teams blunder was the icing on the cake. Given that 17 of their points came off Dallas turnovers, it could be argued they were fortunate to even have a chance.
Dallas, meanwhile, got a bit unlucky in their Week 1 loss. In Week 2, luck was on their side.