(Reuters) - The Atlanta Falcons continued their franchise best start to a season and advanced to an 8-0 record with a gritty 19-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Matt Ryan tossed for 342 yards and no scores but was mistake-free as his running game and defense backed him up to hold off the visiting Cowboys (3-5).
After both teams exchanged two field goals each in the first half, the Falcons took charge in the second when they got their running game moving.
Michael Turner, who rushed for 102 yards in total, scored a touchdown on a three-yard run early in the fourth, before Matt Bryant added his third field goal to give Atlanta a 16-6 advantage.
Tony Romo connected with receiver Kevin Ogletree for a 21-yard touchdown to pull Dallas within three with 5:21 left, but the Falcons responded with a lengthy drive that resulted in another Bryant field goal and left the Cowboys just 17 seconds on the clock.
Atlanta, whose previous best start to a season was 4-0, now have a commanding four-game lead in the NFC South while Dallas have lost four of five to fall 2-1/2 games behind first place in the NFC East.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury