ARLINGTON, Texas – The quarterback's heroics and the running back's talent are going to grab the headlines, and deservedly so.
But the box score truly tells the story of this game.
Yes, Prescott powered his way to 16 crucial yards that helped the Cowboys take control of Saturday's game. And Ezekiel Elliott was the engine of the Cowboys' offense, powering his way to 169 total yards and a touchdown in the 24-22 win.
But in between those moments was a defensive outing that bordered on dominance, as the Cowboys' defense authored another performance that showcased why they're considered one of the league's best.
"We ran and hit," said DeMarcus Lawrence. "You hut the will out of somebody, they ain't gonna want to run no more."
That's a perfect place to start, given that the Seahawks arrived at AT&T Stadium with the NFL's best rushing offense, averaging 160 yards per game. Seattle spent much of its night trying to establish the run – and getting next to nowhere. They finished the night with 73 yards on 24 carries, an average of just three yards per attempt.
"We knew they were going to want to run the football a lot of different ways," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "Somehow, some way, we needed to stop the it. We needed discipline, we needed to be tough, we needed to tackle."
The Cowboys did that beautifully, limiting Chris Carson to just 20 yards on 13 carries. And while Russell Wilson did score a four-yard touchdown in the third quarter, the Seahawks' elusive quarterback finished his night with just 14 rushing yards.
Speaking of Wilson, that was an important second step in this defensive game plan. Wilson made plays, to be sure. He threw for 233 yards and a touchdown, and none of those yards were more impressive than in the game's dying minutes, when he took advantage of the Dallas secondary to bring the Seahawks within two points.
But for the most part, the Cowboys harried Wilson into a pedestrian night – by his lofty standards, at least. He was hit several times, sacked once and was rushed into numerous hurried throws – which contributed to the Seahawks finishing just 2-of-13 on third down.
To hear it from defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard, the goal was to be disciplined – but also aggressive.
"As important as it was to keep Russell in the pocket, it was just more important to rush," Richard said. "Because a lot of times he's standing back there with too much time, and that's how he's able to create."
Wilson definitely created some plays. His fourth down laser to Doug Baldwin was as memorable as playoff catches get. But at the end of the day, the stats speak for themselves. Even with a 75-yard touchdown drive at the end of the game, the Seahawks finished with just 299 yards of offense. They managed just 11 first downs, and they scored two touchdowns.
While his clutch plays played a role of their own in the win, it was a performance Prescott was sure to praise.
"You win championships with defense," he said. "When you have a defense like we do that's able to get stops, make big plays and get turnovers, and then an explosive offense like we do – it's just a great combination."