For at least a week, the Dallas Cowboys broke their postseason character in gutting out a win against the dangerous Seahawks.
The Dallas Cowboys started this season 3-5. Let that sink in just in case you forgot. After that forgettable Monday night loss at home against the Tennessee Titans on November 5th, Dallas appeared dead to rights. Time to blow it up. Fire Jason Garrett. Draft a quarterback. Do something. Do anything but stay the course.
Even more absurd at the time was Garrett’s assertion that his charges simply needed to keep doing what they were doing. It seemed laughable. But since then, he appears to be nothing short of a soothsayer. The Dallas Cowboys have lost exactly one time since that fateful day. In doing so, they improbably claimed the NFC East and earned the right to host the proceedings on wild card weekend.
I’ve been saying this for a few weeks now, but during their second half surge, these Cowboys have played with a certain brutality. It’s not exactly easy to watch, and it surely doesn’t hold the sex appeal of teams like the Saints or Rams, but it gets the job done. And make no mistake, Saturday night’s win against Seattle was brutal, hard-hitting playoff football.
In fact, Saturday night’s affair exemplified all the best that this Cowboys’ team has had to offer in the past two months. After a few off games, the defense rallied with a very solid effort. But most importantly, the dynamic duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott carried the day with their toughness and persistence. This team in general has this ability to look rather unimpressive for long stretches of games, but then the fourth quarter rolls around and there they are making plays in the clutch.
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Nowhere was this more apparent than late in the fourth with the Cowboys clinging to a 17-14 lead. With 2:33 left in the game and facing 3rd-and-14 on the Seattle 17-yard line, Prescott ran what appeared to be a designed draw play for sixteen yards and a first down. Prescott would sneak in on the next play to put the Cowboys up by two scores and effectively end the game. Granted, the Seahawks quickly scored on their ensuing possession, but it was largely empty, especially when they couldn’t capitalize on the onside kick attempt. So while Seattle went down swinging, there’s no way anyone could call the Dallas victory fluky. They earned the “W” in every way.
For me, this is what’s making this team more and more likable every week. They might find themselves down during a given game, but they’re hardly ever out. They fight and they scratch and claw. Most importantly, both sides of the ball are playing for each other. This squad is young, they’ve had their playoff backs to the wall for almost two months now, and they’re learning how to win close games. Credit coaches and players alike for their collective toughness, both mental and physical. They could have quit on each other a long time ago.
Yet here they are. The Dallas Cowboys are two wins away from a Super Bowl. I’m not saying they’re a lock to get there, but they’re playing well enough to put a scare into anyone they run across. Turns out, solid defense and a punishing running game still win in today’s NFL. Furthermore, they avoided a trip to that crucible in New Orleans by virtue of the Eagles’ upset win in Chicago last night. Cowboys’ playoff football in southern California in January? Sign me up.
- Published on 01/07/2019 at 13:01 PM
- Last updated at 01/07/2019 at 10:46 AM