By HCR Staff | Jan. 6, 2019
As in the Colts-Texans AFC Wild Card game earlier in the day, elite defenses again took center stage Saturday night as the Dallas Cowboys held on for a 24-22 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC’s opening game of the NFL postseason.
The Cowboys and Seahawks have very similar defenses, with long, fast, athletic players. Those defenses didn’t disappoint Saturday night, as they controlled the game.
Playing at home, Dallas’ defense did a terrific job of shutting down the Seahawks’ vaunted running game. Without much of a running game, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was forced to improvise, and outside of wide receiver Tyler Lockett, he didn’t have much more help. The Seahawks started slow, but thanks to their elite defense went into halftime down only four.
The Cowboys scored first, taking a 3-0 lead, and subsequently had six opportunities to take control of the game with a two-possession lead. They went 0-for-6, as Seattle’s defense, led by linebacker Bobby Wagner and cornerback Shaquille Griffin, repeatedly thwarted Dallas’ offense.
Dallas was finally able to take control of the game with a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter after a terrific kick return by wide receiver Tavon Austin.
While Dallas advances to the divisional round, we see a fairly one-dimensional team. It’s a team that is led by a great defense, but supported by an offense that simply isn’t that dynamic. If opposing defensive coordinators center their efforts on stopping running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys don’t have enough of a high-powered passing game to threaten anybody to any significant degree. Additionally, it looks as if wide receiver Amari Cooper might have been slightly dinged in this game, and if he is slowed down by any significant degree, then Dallas’ offense will be severely hampered.
There was some scuttlebutt that if Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett lost this game, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones might consider terminating him. With this Victory, however, Garrett is virtually assured of returning in 2019. If that happens, we predict the Cowboys will look for a new offensive coordinator in any event. Current offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has been with the team for some time, and the offense simply does not look as innovative as others. Having said that, the offensive personnel lacks in some key areas, and that is not through any fault of Linehan.
If the Chicago Bears follow through and win at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Will go on the road to New Orleans next week. While the Cowboys defense matches up with the Saints offense, the Saints will have at their disposal in this next go-round wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn was out with an injury when the Cowboys beat the Saints in Week 13. He is the field stretcher, and his presence will be a difference-maker in the next round for the Saints if they should face the Cowboys.