Cowboys edge Seahawks 24-22; Colts handle Texans 21-7
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Dallas Cowboys hung on for a 24-22 wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.
The playoff win by the Cowboys (11-6) was the first for Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott on their second try after losing a divisional game as rookies two years ago. Dallas will play either New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round next weekend.
The loss ended a run of nine straight victories in playoff openers for the Seahawks (10-7). The Elias Sports Bureau says it was the longest streak in NFL history.
Dallas’ defense, ranked in the top 10 most of the season, mostly kept quarterback Russell Wilson under control and handed him his first loss in four wild-card games.
It was the eighth win in nine games for the Cowboys.
Prescott, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 when the Cowboys lost to Green Bay at home as the top seed in the NFC, threw for 226 yards and had a 1-yard sneak for what appeared to be a clinching score before Tyler Lockett’s 53-yard catch set up a quick Seattle touchdown.
But the missing kicker left the Seahawks no good options on an onside kick with 1:18 remaining. Punter Michael Dickson’s drop kick was caught by Cole Beasley at the Dallas 31, sealing the first playoff win for the Cowboys since beating Detroit in the wild-card round in the 2014 season.
Luck put on a show in his hometown, throwing for 191 yards and two touchdowns before halftime to help the Colts (11-6) build a 21-0 lead.
Houston (11-6), which overcame a 0-3 start to win the AFC South, gave up too many big plays and couldn’t get anything going on offense in the first half to fall into the huge hole.
Deshaun Watson, who was sacked an NFL-leading 62 times in the regular season, was sacked three times and hit eight more times in a disappointing playoff debut. He finished with 235 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
The Colts, who opened the season 1-5, continued an impressive run by winning their fifth straight and for the 10th time in 11 games. Saturday was their first playoff appearance since the AFC championship game loss at New England in the “Deflategate” game in the 2014 season.