For the third time in the last five seasons, the Dallas Cowboys will be playing in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. It wasn’t always pretty, but this team ain’t pretty. The Cowboys prevailed 24-22 against a stingy Seattle Seahawks team who had given them trouble the last two years. This was Jason Garrett’s second career playoff win, and the teams’ first since 2014. The game as a whole kind of abides to the common theme of many of Dallas’ games this season. Not much doing on the scoreboard for both sides through three quarters, then an eruption in the fourth. The defense stood tall, Dak made plays and Zeke closed it out on the ground. The win also moves Dallas to 10-0 on the season when they score 20 or more points.
Here’s my takeaways:
Dak Came to PLAY
Saturday night was Dak’s first career playoff victory and first career win against the Seahawks. It doesn’t matter what we as critics say about him at this point. The dude it clutch and there’s no arguing that. He’s also a ‘Grown Ass Man’ if you ask Ezekiel Elliott and Cowboys Twitter. Dak finished with a passing line of 22/32 for 226 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. He also added six rushes for 29 yards and a TD. It was another slow start for the offense as a whole, but collectively Dak and Zeke got them going in the fourth. There was that questionable throw that turned into a flukey interception, but he made a bunch of gutsy plays down the stretch when the Boys needed it most. This third down run setting up a first and goal was whole-heartedly his best and gutsiest play of the night though:
Regardless of what we say about Dallas’ QB1, the guy is nails and continues to come up big when it matters most.
The Defense We Know and Love
Following a pretty mediocre month of December after being clamps for the majority of the first three quarters of the season, the Dallas defense got back to dominating at the perfect time. The group wants to be recognized as elite, and they furthered their case Saturday night. The linebackers were everywhere as usual, and the front seven was constantly swarming the ball and making life tough for Russell Wilson. The swarming resulted in big stop after big stop, and several big plays were made in the Seattle backfield as the night went on. In particular, Maliek Collins and Antwaun Woods up the middle probably had their best performances of the season.
The first quarter dominance of the Dallas defense continued too as the Seahawks didn’t get a first down until well into the second quarter. They bottled up the leagues leading team in rushing nicely as reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Month RB Chris Carson finished with just 20 yards on 13 carries.
Demarcus Lawrence summed it up best: “We ran and we hit.”
The Zeke Rolls On
Where Dak continues to be the main alpha of the team, Ezekiel Elliot remains as the heartbeat of the Dallas Cowboys. Not everything went his way in this one, but one thing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan actually did well was stick with the ground game. Dallas usually goes as Zeke goes and he was going, again. He tallied 169 all-purpose yards on 30 total touches with one score. On a critical third and short in the fourth quarter too, Zeke read it beautifully and completely avoided the pile and bounced it outside for a huge gain. Expect an even heavier workload for Zeke next week. The Cowboys will go as far as he can take them.
Griffin, hit the weight room.
We’re Onto LA
With the Nick Foles led Eagles once again pulling a rabbit out of their hat via a field goal off the upright against the Bears, the Dallas Cowboys will be heading to the Coliseum on Saturday night to square off with the Los Angeles Rams. The Eagles will instead head to the house of horrors in New Orleans to try to deal with the Saints. It was tough to decide who to root for in that Eagles-Bears game Sunday evening, but if you were asking me for a preference, I’d argue that the Rams would be the preferred matchup for the time being. Sean McVay and Jared Goff; a head coach QB duo who have yet to win a playoff game and an offensive unit who provides the Hot Boyz to get after the quarterback. The Rams were also a bottom 10 team against the run this season. Eat Zeke Eat.
Some of Cowboys Nation may claim they want the Saints again, based off that performance on Thursday Night Football at the end of November, but playing in LA before a possible date in NOLA is really the ideal situation. The team’s chances look to be overall better at LA, and the stadium there will probably be half or more Cowboys fans. I’m preaching to avoid the Superdome at all costs until the last possible moment. We all know Brees is there, and that group is probably hungry for some revenge too.
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