ARLINGTON, Texas — For three seasons now the Cowboys have known that the team’s future lies in the hands of QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott. The two NFC East titles have been nice—and their contract extensions will be even nicer. But the most important next step has always been getting the playoff victory.
The duo took care of that Saturday night at AT&T Stadium. With the help of a stout performance by the Dallas defense, Prescott and Elliott led the Cowboys to their first postseason victory since the 2014 season and only their third in 20 years, topping the Seahawks 24–22 in the wild-card round.
Elliott called his teammate’s performance “legendary” and that Prescott played “like a grown-ass man.” Your thoughts, Dak?
“I feel like I’m a grown-ass man, just in general,” Prescott quipped.
In a game fully meeting the postseason expectations, there was a noticeable lack of a signature play as the end of the game was approaching. It appeared the Cowboys would kick a field goal to go up six points, hand the ball back to the Seattle offense and watch as QB Russell Wilson conjured more late-game magic.
On third-and-14 from the Seattle 17-yard line, Prescott looked for an open receiver and found none. He took off for just the fourth time all game, met Tedric Thompson near the goal line and flipped in the air while protecting the ball and landing just shy of paydirt. Prescott would follow the 16-yard scamper with the one-yard touchdown, but at that point it was just a formality.
That final Cowboys’ drive was an 11-play series that went just 54 yards but ate up more than five minutes of clock. What helped make Prescott’s 16-yard run possible was Seattle’s willingness to keep the ball in the Cowboys’s hands. Seattle was flagged for pass interference on consecutive third downs just as the defense was about to get off the field. The two flags were the only pass interference calls all night long.
Prescott finished the game 22-of-33 for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while Elliott rushed 26 times for 137 yards and a score. No. 4-seeded Dallas will face either the Rams or the Saints next weekend.
The Cowboys had their victory, and Prescott had his moment.
For the first time in his career, Russell Wilson is one-and-done in the postseason. A year considered to be a rebuilding season for the Seahawks ended in Seattle’s first first-game postseason exit in its past nine trips.
Defensively, the Cowboys looked nothing like it did last week in the narrow victory against the Giants and far more like the unit that held Drew Brees’s Saints to 10 points in that Week 13 win that put the league on notice. The Seahawks went a miserable 2-for-13 on third downs and, for the 11th time this season, the Cowboys held the opponent to less than 100 yards rushing.
The playoff win represents a milestone for these Cowboys, but now comes another test. This defense is guaranteed to get one of the best offenses in the NFL next week on the road, where they went 3-5 this season and where they will surely be the underdogs. Prescott could bask in the glow of this win, but he knows what’s ahead.
“[The win] gives us a chance to keep going on. It’s as simple as that,” Prescott said. “Me and this whole team, we want to win it all, and you can’t do that without taking care of the first one.”
Question or comment? Email us at email@example.com.