ATLANTA (AP) — The unbeaten Atlanta Falcons got off to a sluggish start to help quarterback Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys take a 6-0 lead after the first quarter on Sunday night.
Dallas entered the game 3-4, had lost three of four and was coming off a home loss to the New York Giants last week.
But the Cowboys had the upper hand against Atlanta, which entered the game 7-0 and was the NFL's last unbeaten team.
The Falcons struggled in the first quarter.
After their offense went three-and-out on the first possession, Dallas' Dwayne Harris returned a punt 37 yards. He likely would've scored a touchdown had Mike Peterson, a 14th-year veteran linebacker playing special teams, not made an open-field tackle.
Dallas went ahead 3-0 six plays later on Dan Bailey's 23-yard field goal, but the damage could have been worse.
Romo could have run for a 5-yard touchdown on third-and-goal, but instead lofted an incomplete pass outside the reach of Cole Beasley in the left corner of the end zone.
Atlanta followed with a seven-play drive that included a 38-yard catch down the left sideline by Julio Jones.
The Falcons stalled, though, when linebacker Bruce Carter stuffed Jacquizz Rodgers for a 1-yard loss up the middle and Matt Bryant missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The Cowboys went up 6-0 on their next possession. Romo avoided pressure on his left side to step up and convert a third-and-20 when Kevin Ogletree ran past cornerback Dunta Robinson and made a 65-yard catch to the Atlanta 14.
Three plays later, Bailey's 32-yard field goal made it 6-0.
The Falcons managed just 5 yards rushing on eight attempts in the first quarter.
Quarterback Matt Ryan completed 6 of 9 passes for 93 yards. Romo was 4 of 9 passing for 88 yards.
Dallas was playing without running back DeMarco Murray, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right foot. Atlanta linebacker Sean Weatherspoon was sidelined by a sprained right ankle.
Atlanta was coming off a 30-17 victory last week at Philadelphia that was one of its most complete under fifth-year coach Mike Smith.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL