DALLAS, DEC. 6 -- Dallas President and General Manager Tex Schramm said his team's loss to Atlanta today marked the "lowest point" of his career and said he was embarrassed by his club's current state.
And team owner Bum Bright openly challenged some of the the coaching moves after the loss and said if he had it to do all over again, he probably wouldn't have bought the team.
Dallas lost to Atlanta, 21-10, before the smallest crowd the Cowboys have played before at Texas Stadium -- 40,103. Atlanta (3-9) had lost six in a row and its nonreplacement team had won just once this season before beating the Cowboys (5-7), who have lost five of seven since the end of the strike.
"This is the lowest point in my career, which has been 38 years," Schramm said. "Obviously, something isn't right. When you lose to teams with the worst record, it becomes difficult.
"Sure, I'm embarrassed. When we were an expansion team, we lost games. But we were going forward."
Not counting strike games, Dallas has lost 13 of its last 17 games.
Bright said he has the utmost confidence in Schramm, calling him "the best general manager in the NFL," but his stance on Coach Tom Landry was weaker.
Bright said the Cowboys' play-calling "horrified" him, and he criticized Landry's failure to make greater use of defensive lineman Danny Noonan, the team's first-round draft choice, and running back Herschel Walker.
"I'm very disappointed," Bright said. "It doesn't seem like we've got anybody in charge that knows what they're doing, other than Tex."
Asked if he would support a change in coaches, Bright said, "I'd back Tex in anything he wants to do. I've got all the confidence in the world in him. He's a tough person."
Told of Bright's comments and asked if it bothered him, Landry said, "Sure, it bothers anybody, but they have a right to say that."
Bright said he would consider selling the Cowboys if he could find any takers. "I think the aura of the Cowboys is dying," Bright said. "I'm talking about an aura where they were smart, where they were leaders around the league, where they were slick and smooth and had a high caliber of individuals playing for them."
The Falcons, at the bottom of the NFL in points scored and points allowed, manhandled the Cowboys on offense and defense and Gerald Riggs set a franchise rushing record.
The Falcons came up with two touchdowns in a 13-second span of the first period -- by Floyd Dixon and Robert Moore -- then shut out the Cowboys in the second half.
Atlanta held Walker to 35 yards on 15 carries. The Cowboys are one loss away from their second straight losing season after going 20 years without one.
The Falcons scored all the points they needed in the opening period.
Quarterback Scott Campbell hit Dixon with a 28-yard touchdown throw with 6:09 to play in the quarter for the game's first score.
On the kickoff, Elbert Shelley and Major Everett hit Dallas return man Kelvin Martin and the ball popped free. Moore picked it up and ran 20 yards for a score.
Riggs, in his sixth NFL season out of Arizona State, gained 119 yards in 30 carries to boost his career total to 6,024. That pushed him past William Andrews as the Falcons' career rushing leader.
Although the Cowboys made more first downs than Atlanta and gained just 10 fewer yards, they failed to make the big play when needed and consistently struggled on third down. Atlanta 14 0 7 0 21 Dallas 3 7 0 0 10
A -- Dixon 28 pass from Campbell (Luckhurst kick), 8:51
A -- Moore 20 fumble return (Luckhurst kick), 9:04
D -- FG Ruzek 44, 13:08 Second Quarter
D -- Walker 1 run (Ruzek kick), 13:10 Third Quarter
A -- Campbell 1 run (Luckhurst kick), 4:12
A -- 40,103
Falcons Cowboys First downs 18 24 Rushes-yards 32-111 27-91 Passing yards 253 263 Return yards 10 23 Passing 17-30-2 26-43-1 Sacked-yards lost 0-0 3-23 Punts-average 5-43 5-40 Fumbles-lost 2-2 2-2 Penalties-yards 5-68 3-42 Time of possession 29:30
RUSHING -- Atlanta: Riggs 30-119, Campbell 1-1, Dixon 1-minus 9. Dallas: Walker 15-35, Dorsett 7-33, Newsom
PASSING -- Atlanta: Campbell 17-30-2, 253 yards. Dallas: Pelluer 18-31-0, 203, D. White 8-12-1, 83.
RECEIVING -- Atlanta: Dixon 7-80, Matthews 3-45, Suttle 2-62, C. Brown 2-43, Emery 2-18, Riggs 1-5. Dallas: