ARLINGTON — It turns out stellar defense and a strong running game can still get it done on the gridiron.
The Dallas Cowboys proved that once again Saturday night after beating the Seattle Seahawks 24-22 at AT&T Stadium in an NFC wild-card playoff battle. Unlike the 2006 postseason meeting up north, it never came down to a last-second field goal, but rather a key third down and an onside kick.
On the biggest play of the game, Dak Prescott faced a third-and-14 from Seattle’s 17-yard line and made a determined run up the gut on a quarterback draw to move the chains before being upended at the 1. The scamper all but sealed the victory, and one play later, Prescott plunged across the goal line to help increase the Cowboys’ lead to two scores at 24-14.
Russell Wilson directed a quick touchdown drive the other way and converted a 2-point try to pull Seattle within striking distance at 24-22, but former Longhorn Michael Dickson’s dropkick onside attempt was easily handled by Cole Beasley to seal Dallas’ first postseason win since a 2014 wild card triumph against the Lions.
All of the late drama unfolded as Seattle’s veteran kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, watched from the sidelines with a pulled hamstring that he suffered just before halftime.
The Cowboys and Seahawks entered the game as mirror images of each other, but Dallas proved that its ground-and-pound philosophy was the superior version. Ezekiel Elliott outgained Seattle’s running back committee of Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny 137 yards to 59 and also ran in a score early in the fourth quarter to give his team a 17-14 advantage.
The Cowboys’ defense was dominant, as it forced six three-and-outs in the contest and limited the Seahawks’ explosive plays. Other than a 28-yard run by Penny in the second quarter and a few pinpoint passes by Wilson to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin, Seattle’s offense was completely held in check.
Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and counterpart Jaylon Smith patrolled the field and combined for 17 total tackles. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie stayed glued to Seattle’s wideouts and in yet another outstanding game, while the defensive line had its way with the Seahawks’ front five.
And then there’s Prescott. The oft-criticized quarterback was 22-of-33 passing for 226 yards, one TD and one interception, although the pick came on what likely should have been a pass interference call in the red zone.
It was only fitting that Prescott was able to punch it in when it mattered most to cap his first career playoff win. The clutch performance came on the heels of a confidence-building fourth quarter win over the Giants in a game that appeared meaningless at the time.
Dallas fans now hope the Week 17 comeback marked a major turning point for the third-year pro from Mississippi State, who has helped his team win eight of its last nine contests. Prescott’s contributions have been vital, as the Cowboys are a remarkable 10-0 this year when scoring 20 or more points.
Dallas will try to advance to its first NFC Championship since 1995 when it travels to Los Angeles to take on Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and the Rams this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. CT.
- 2019 Season - Week 12Area Round of the 2019 Central Texas High School Playoffs as the tournaments continue. Lake Travis has a rematch against San Antonio Madison at Rattlers Stadium in San Marcos. Westlake would go on the Win the State Championship while Cavs would defeat Judson again in 3rd round at the Alamodome but would fall the following […]
- 2019 Season - Week 11Steve and Russell breakdown the 2019 High School Playoffs in Central Texas on 104.9 Horn FM. Bi-District week where districts collide in this first round. McCallum and Westwood battled out....Giddings defeated Houston Kashmir 50-0. Georgetown at LBJ, Lake Travis at Smithson Valley, Vandegrift hosts Bridgeland at home led by Jax Mccauley in a close comeback […]
- 2019 Season - Week 10Russell & Steve cover week 11 on our 10th show as teams get near the playoffs and districts begin to line up as teams edge each other out for the final playoff spots. Russell became a grandpa the night before this show. . . Vista Ridge beat Round Rock 41-38.
- 2019 Season - Week 9Week 9 of The Friday Night Countdown on 104.9 Horn FM is your Pre-Game for Central Texas High School Football for 2019 Season! Thursday Night games we rained out and delayed. Weiss winning 14-7 over Eastview.
- Plonsky joins United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in announcing phase one concepts of USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think TankAs a member of the USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank, Texas Athletics Chief of Staff Chris Plonsky joined the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to announce its phase one priorities, which includes three concepts focused on sport sustainability, sport structure and vertical partnerships. The concepts were generated through three working groups, which convened […]
- Del Conte named to College Football Playoff Selection CommitteeUT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte has been appointed as one of five new members to the committee.