Red zone woes hurt Cowboys

ATLANTA -- The Cowboys did not have to play a perfect game on offense to beat the Falcons. They did need, however, to score touchdowns.

In 2009 at the Superdome against 13-0 New Orleans, the Cowboys opened the game with back-to-back touchdown drives for a 14-0 lead, stunning the crowd and just about all of their doubters.

On Sunday, the Cowboys’ first two drives ended in Dan Bailey field goals for a 6-0 lead with drives ending at the Atlanta 5 and 14.

“Their style of defense doesn’t allow you to throw over them,” Garrett said. “You have to run the ball effectively and throw it underneath against them down in the red zone. We tried a couple of those and it didn’t work out and settled for field goals. Obviously you’d rather have touchdowns.”

This wasn’t a Sunday problem. The lack of red zone success has been an issue for multiple seasons. They can pile up yards -- 377 on Sunday -- but they can’t pile up points. This was the fifth time the Cowboys failed to score 20 points in a game this season.

“You can’t have three points in the red zone against these types of teams,” tight end Jason Witten said. “We’ve got to be more efficient down there. We know it. We just haven’t executed, you know? I don’t know anything else to say other than you’ve got to be able to put seven points up when you get down there and have those opportunities. Otherwise, what happened tonight is exactly what happens if you let good teams stick around.”