Don't Forget These 5: Maher's Open-Field Tackle 


ARLINGTON, Texas – Dak Prescott was flipping toward the goal line, Ezekiel Elliott was stiff-arming defenders and the defense was flying to the ball from start to finish.

Those are things we won't forget about this 24-22 playoff win against the Seahawks.  But like all games, there are several plays that go unnoticed, or could be overlooked. Still, they play a huge role in the eventual outcome.

Let's look at five plays that changed the direction of this game here at AT&T Stadium:

Costly catch by Hurns – We'll all remember the gruesome scene of Allen Hurns' first-quarter catch that ended his season abruptly. As unfortunate as it was for the Cowboys to lose a versatile, veteran receiver, the actual catch was important. It was third-and-7 from the Cowboys' 26-yard line early in the game and Hurns was able to pick up 14 yards and move the chains. The Cowboys eventually had to punt but that catch allowed them to control field position and force Seattle to start its next drive at their own 23-yard line.

Maher's open-field tackle – Brett Maher is on this team because of his strong leg, which has made field goals from 62 and 59 yards this year. But it was an open-field tackle that led to a few different scenarios on Saturday. On his ensuing kickoff after a second-quarter touchdown, Maher saw Seattle's Tyler Lockett breaking free near midfield. He was able to make the tackle and save at least another 25 yards if not a touchdown. Not only did that lead to a long field goal attempt by the Seahawks, which they missed, but kicker Sebastian Janikowski got hurt on the play and it changed Seattle's approach the rest of the game. 

Third-down pickup by Brown – This was not a great game for wide receiver Noah Brown. He had trouble lining up a couple of times, he was knocked down during a route once and then couldn't fight for the ball that led to an interception in the end zone. But he did have a crucial third-down catch on the final play of the third quarter. The 6-yard reception moved the ball to the Cowboys' 48 and Dallas was then able to take the lead with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Double penalties after the pick – The Seahawks had stolen the ball and momentum from the Cowboys with K.J. Wright's interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter. But Seattle couldn't take advantage thanks to a pair of penalties – a 10-yard holding call and then a 15-yard personal foul that backed up the Seahawks and forced a punt instead of them driving down for a go-ahead score.

Wright's penalty extends Cowboys' drive – Wright was able to get a pick on the previous drive, but he likely could've been called for pass interference on that play. Instead, he was flagged on the next series for being too aggressive on a pass to Michael Gallup with 6:39 left. That gave Dallas a first down at its 45-yard line, and the Seahawks were able to provide another first down later during the drive thanks to pass interference again. The Cowboys eventually chewed up five minutes off the clock and grabbed a two-score lead on Prescott's touchdown run.