Cowboys Edge Falcons

via Reuters

Brett Maher, who had missed an extra point, kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give the visiting Dallas Cowboys a 22-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Dallas (5-5) took a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons (4-6) tied the game on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones with 1:52 remaining.

Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 23-yard run and accounted for 201 yards from scrimmage, rushing 23 times for 122 and catching seven passes for 79 more.

Ryan completed 24 of 34 passes for 291 yards, but threw a costly interception in the fourth quarter and was sacked three times in the first half, two by DeMarcus Lawrence, as the Falcons’ playoff hopes all but vanished.

After five field goals accounting for all the scoring through three quarters, the Cowboys scored on a 4-yard keeper by Dak Prescott 41 seconds into the final period to climax a 75-yard drive.

Maher had his PAT go wide left to keep the Dallas lead at 12-9, but rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch intercepted Ryan — after receiver Calvin Ridley dropped the pass — on the Falcons’ third play following the TD, and Elliott scored two runs later to make it a 10-point advantage.

Matt Bryant, who had missed the past three games with a strained hamstring, made four field goals for the Falcons, hitting from 21 yards following the Elliott touchdown. He had kicks of 41 and 45 yards in the second quarter and made a 53-yarder in the third.

Maher had a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter after Cole Beasley dropped a pass in the end zone on the Cowboys’ first possession, and a 50-yarder in the third.

Prescott completed 22 of 32 passes for 208 yards and didn’t throw an interception. He was sacked twice, both times by Vic Beasley Jr.

Jones caught six passes for 118 yards and prevented a second-quarter interception with a jarring hit on Cowboys safety Jeff Heath.

Dallas hosts Washington, the leader in the NFC East, on Thanksgiving, while the Falcons visit NFC South-leader New Orleans that evening.

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