Dallas outplayed Seattle thoroughly but couldn't get into the end zone, and their playoff chances are now over. 

By Daniel Rapaport
December 24, 2017

With a first-and-goal at the three-yard line, and with their season hanging in the balance, the Cowboys' choice to put the ball in Dak Prescott's hands instead of Ezekiel Elliott's backfired immensely. 

Down 21-12 with just under eight minutes remaining in a game they'd dominated thoroughly, Dallas took a holding penalty and a sack before Dan Bailey missed a 34-yard field goal to kill Dallas' chances of a comeback victory. With the 21-12 loss, Dallas was eliminated from playoff contention, while the victory keeps Seattle alive in the NFC Wild Card race. 

The Cowboys dominated the game, out gaining the Seahawks 283-136, but simply could not find the end zone. Bailey settled for four field goals, including a pair of 51-yarders, which prevented the Cowboys from converting their time of possession and yardage advantage into any cushion on the scoreboard. One of the most accurate kickers in league history, Bailey also missed a 48-yarder as Dallas was trying to stay alive with just over a minute remaining. 

The game's momentum flipped for good in the beginning of the second half. After Dallas forced yet another Seattle punt, Prescott badly overthrew Elliott, and Justin Coleman took advantage by intercepting the errant ball and returning it for a touchdown. He celebrated the game-changing play by jumping into a Salvation Army bowl behind the end zone, just as Ezekiel Elliott did last year, and was flagged for excessive celebration. Still, the pick-six gave Seattle a 14-9 lead, an advantage they wouldn't surrender. 

The Cowboys looked like they'd bounce back on the ensuing possession when they advanced to the Seahawk's 17-yard line. But Dallas was forced to settle for a field goal yet again and cut the deficit to 14-12 rather than take the lead. The Seahawks then put together their one good drive of the game and punctuated it with a 6-yard touchdown bass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. That gave them a commanding 21-12 lead, and a Dallas interception followed by the pair of missed field goals sealed the Cowboys' fate in front of their home crowd. 

Seattle, which became the first team since 1966 to win a game with more penalty yards than total yards, moves to 9-6 with the victory and host the Cardinals next weekend. The Seahawks need to win that game and have the Falcons lose in order to make the playoffs for the sixth straight year. 

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