Cowboys gifted a win after Falcons' inexplicable error on onside kick

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. Evidently, that was the day the Falcons learned the rules of an onside kick.

Atlanta, which at halftime of Sunday's Week 2 game in Dallas had a 29-10 lead, made an inexplicable error on special teams when it failed to recover the Cowboys' o

nside kick attempt with 1:46 to play. Instead, Dallas recovered the ball and worked the clock all the way down to 4 seconds before Greg Zuerlein sealed a 40-39 victory with a 46-yard field goal as time expired.

Multiple Falcons players could have recovered Zuerlein's onside kick, but they appeared to be waiting for the ball to cross the 45-yard line. Which is the rule for the kicking team; Dallas had to wait for the ball to travel 10 yards before it could attempt to recover the kick. The Atlanta players simply could have jumped on the ball at any point and sealed a win.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters after the game that his players have "got to go capture" the ball in that onside kick situation, claiming they were well aware of the rules.

The onside kick recovery and the game-winning field goal that followed capped an incredible comeback by Dallas, which scored 16 points in the game's final 4:57.

According to Pro Swap, Atlanta had a 99.9 percent chance to win when it was leading 39-30 with 2:33 remaining in the game. That was before Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott found wide receiver Michael Gallup for a 38-yard gain to the Falcons' 5-yard line. Prescott scored on a QB keeper a few plays later to set up the onside kick attempt.

The Falcons committed zero turnovers Sunday while racking up their 39 points. According to ESPN, NFL teams were 440-0 when scoring 39 points with 0 turnovers since 1933, when team turnovers were first tracked.

Prescott finished the game 34-of-47 passing for 450 yards, 1 touchdown and a rating of 109.4. He also scored three rushing touchdowns.

Now the Falcons are 0-2 after last week's loss to the Seahawks. Somehow, the Cowboys are now 1-1, and the win marks new coach Mike McCarthy's first victory as Dallas' head coach.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes in Sunday's loss and managed a 126.3 rating. He is now 0-2 for the first time in his career as a starter.