In a must win game for both sides, the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks battled in AT&T Stadium for the chance to be in the final wild-card spot along with the loser being eliminated from play-off contention.
The Cowboys were helped with the return of Ezekiel Elliot, who was suspended for the last six games. The Seahawks were facing the Cowboys after two consecutive defeats including an embarrassing defeat at home last week to the newly crowned NFC West champions the Los Angeles Rams. The game was simple, win and you have a fighting to chance to progress into the wild-card round. A loss and you’re going home.
For Dallas, it was the latter.
A brilliant defensive performance from Seattle ensured they were still in the hunt for the play-offs. Two interceptions, one going the distance for a Touchdown by CB Justin Coleman helped Seattle to an unconvincing victory.
The game started off well for the Cowboys who managed to put six points on the scoreboard despite struggles in the redzone. The defensive line also managed to sack MVP Candidate Russell Wilson multiple times. It looked to be a similar performance for the Seattle offence who conceded seven sacks last week in the blowout loss against the Rams.
But it was the Seattle secondary who bailed the Seahawks out as Byron Maxwell managed to force a key fumble on Dez Bryant. The fumble resulted in Russell Wilson throwing a TD to Jimmy Graham for the 10th time this season and putting the Seahawks 7-6 up before half time.
However, with less than a minute to go, Dak Prescott went down the field to earn his side another FG to go 9-7 up in the half.
The second half started off even better for Seattle as Justin Coleman picked off Dak Prescott for a pick six and to give Seattle a 14-9 lead. The pass looked to be intended for Elliot but the pass was overthrown.
The redzone struggles increased for Dallas as they failed to score a touchdown the entire game. A defensive pass interference call on Justin Coleman meant Dallas were in great position to score a touchdown but like the previous drives, they settled for a FG with Dan Bailey going 4/4 on FG’s.
The Cowboys defence held out Seattle on multiple drives with Sean Lee being an instrumental figure in that. Lee had missed multiple games earlier this season with an injury and his presence was felt without him. Having got the ball back, Dallas had shot down the field but a mistake by Prescott resulted in an interception by KJ Wright.
Seattle dominated the turnover/points ratio having scored on each possession they had following a turnover. They made sure it continued as Russell Wilson threw a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. This was Wilson’s 32nd touchdown pass of the season.
Despite being 21-12 down, Dallas continued fighting and it looked as if they were going to be within one score as TE Jason Witten caught a key 3rd down pass to down at the two yard line. What followed next was a series of strange events for Cowboy fans. At the two yard line with 1st and Goal, the most likely scenario would be to hand it off to Elliot. What the Cowboys opted to do was pass the ball which resulted in a crucial sack on 3rd down which took them pass the 20 yard line. Dallas had to go for the FG but it went wide right which meant the score remained a two score game.
Dallas had one more chance in the dying moments of the game having managed to go down the field to give them a chance to score. Having opted for a FG to make the situation slightly easier, Dan Bailey ended up missing his second FG of the night and ending their hopes of making it to the play-offs.
The Seattle defence remained strong throughout the rest of the game and the victory meant Seahawks were still in play-off contention. It wasn’t a convincing win for Seattle as they had more penalty yards than total yards but they got the job done.
In order for them to reach the play-offs, they must defeat Arizona at home next week and Carolina must beat Atlanta.