INSTANT REACTION: Brett Maher FG lifts Cowboys to 22-19 victory over Falcons

Dallas worked its plan and notched its second-straight road victory.

Trust the process.

The Cowboys defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 22-19, in a game that went just like Dallas coach Jason Garrett probably drew it up.

The Cowboys stayed ahead of the chains and racked up 20 first downs and 323 yards of total offense. Ezekiel Elliott fueled the Dallas attack with 122 rushing yards and 7 catches for 79 receiving yards. Then, with the game on the line, Dallas got into field goal range and left it up to rookie kicker Brett Maher.

And Maher drew his 42-yard field goal attempt just inside the right upright for the game-winning points with 0:00 showing on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium clock.

The Cowboys defense, playing with depleted numbers along the defensive line, gave up 354 yards to the prolific Falcons. But Dallas made the plays it had to have to limit Atlanta on the score board.

Dallas rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch’s legend continues to grow as he intercepted a pass for the second straight week and had 8 tackles and 3 more pass deflections.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper connected just 3 times for 36 yards. Dallas receiver Cole Beasely dropped a touchdown catch in the first quarter. But, like the defense, the Cowboys’ passing game made the plays it needed when it needed them.

Perhaps the biggest moment in the Dallas victory came on third-and-five from the Cowboys’ 30 when rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup came back to get a 10-yard pass from Prescott that extended the drive with 1:32 left. A miscue there would’ve give the Falcons plenty of time to drive for a game-winning field goal.

Instead, Dallas kept marching as Prescott found Elliott for 11 yards and Beasley for 19 to move to the Falcons 30.

The Cowboys then handed the ball to Elliott three times for a total of 6 yards, running out 25 of the final 29 seconds of the fourth quarter. Maher, who missed an extra point earlier in the game, walked out and nailed the game-winner.

So Dallas will return home for the annual Thanksgiving game with a 5-5 record. The Cowboys host the Redskins and, as fate would have it, can pull even with Washington atop the NFC East with a victory.