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Game Recap: Cowboys win tough battle, 41-35


What's the old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going?"

Coming off three straight dominating wins over some of the worst teams in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys faced a much tougher foe in this Thursday night matchup, the Seattle Seahawks also NFC playoff contenders. But the Cowboys got themselves going late and proved they were up to the challenge by mounting a fourth-quarter comeback in a 41-35 win.

Dak Prescott continued his impressive play in leading his team to the victory. He completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 299 yards with three touchdown tosses and no interceptions. That led to his eighth time earning a passer rating over 100.0 this season, notching a 115.8 mark.

Eight different players caught passes, but it was CeeDee Lamb topping his teammates with 12 grabs for 116 yards and a touchdown while tight end Jake Ferguson chipped in six catches for 77 yards and a score himself.

On the ground, Tony Pollard found tough sledding with 68 rushing yards on 20 carries, but in all, the Cowboys churned out 136 yards running the ball.

In a game marred by a combined 19 penalties for a whopping 257 yards, the Cowboys defense struggled to slow down the Seahawks offense throughout most of the game. Seattle scored touchdowns on five of its first seven possessions and ended another drive with a missed field goal. But when it needed to get going, Dallas got tough, twice stopping the Seahawks on fourth down in the final quarter. Those two key defensive stands led to the Cowboys' final 10 points.

Seattle wideout DK Metcalf proved to be a thorn in the defense's collective side, as he racked up 134 receiving yards while equaling his career high with three touchdown catches. Feeding him the ball was Geno Smith, the quarterback throwing for 334 yards with three touchdowns and one pick to earn a 97.0 rating.

In similar fashion, moving the ball on the ground was difficult for Seattle, the team managing 72 yards on 22 attempts, a 3.3 yards per carry average.

First Quarter

Perhaps wanting to make a statement with their offense, the Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to immediately take the ball. And the unit worked down the field rather easily, reaching the Seahawks' 2-yard line. But there they sputtered, actually losing 10 yards before settling on a 30-yard field goal from Brandon Aubrey to take an early lead.

Conversely, Seattle made a statement on its opening possession. On third-and-8 at his own 27-yard line, Geno Smith threw a dart just over the outstretched arms of DaRon Bland and into the hands of Metcalf. That left an open field for the wideout to race to the goal line for a 73-yard touchdown, marking the first time this season Dallas has trailed at home.

They didn't trail for long, though. The Cowboys needed only five plays to travel the 75-yard distance, the drive helped along the way by a pass interference penalty on Seattle that netted 47 yards. Two snaps later, Prescott found Lamb in the back of the end zone for the home side's first touchdown of the night.

In a somewhat questionable move during Seattle's next possession, the Cowboys had the opportunity to accept a holding penalty and push the Seahawks back to a second-and-19 at their own 16-yard line. But head coach Mike McCarthy decided to decline the call, giving them a third-and-7. With that, Seattle picked up the first down and went on to reach the Dallas 18-yard line. Fortunately, the decision didn't matter as the Seahawks' Jason Myers missed his 42-yard field goal attempt, wide right.

Second Quarter

Starting at their own 32-yard line after the failed kick, the Cowboys went right back to work. Prescott started the series with a 12-yard pass to Luke Schoonmaker, shoveled off a pass to Pollard for 12 more and then later hit Lamb for a 14-yard gain down to the Seattle 2-yard line. So let's get Brandin Cooks into the act. Two snaps after a 5-yard penalty, the quarterback found his target streaking across the middle of the field for the touchdown and a 10-point lead.

This time around, Seattle would be the one to benefit from a lengthy pass interference penalty, a flag on linebacker Rashaan Evans moving the Seahawks 40 yards to the Dallas 9-yard line. Except a second pass interference call, this one on Stephon Gilmore, then pushed Seattle to the Cowboys' 1, which provided an easy plunge into the end zone for running back Zach Charbonnet.

Again, Dallas responded. Getting the ball back with 8:54 left in the half, Prescott and company methodically marched down the field on 16 plays, eating 7:24 off the clock. And after the quarterback scrambled for 7 yards to the Seattle 3, Dallas decided to go for it on fourth-and goal. And although Prescott found room around the right end to cross the goal line, a holding penalty on Terence Steele negated the score. That left it to Aubrey to boot a 31-yard field goal to give the Cowboys the advantage.

But there was still time for Seattle to get back on the board, which is just what they did. Helped by two defensive offsides penalties on Dallas, the Seahawks reached the Cowboys' 39-yard line with 13 seconds remaining. That's when a backpedaling Smith lofted a pass into the end zone that Jaxon Smith-Njigba appeared to corral. But a replay review ruled that the receiver didn't maintain control, the pass now an incompletion.

However, interference had also been called on Bland, which gave the Seahawks the ball at the 1-yard line with only seven seconds left. The touchdown came when Smith hit Metcalf on a slant, Seattle going into the break with the 21-20 lead.

Third Quarter

Usually, when teams defer after winning the coin toss it's so that they can get the double-whammy of scoring at the end of the first half and then again at the opening of the second half. Seattle worked it to perfection.

The third quarter began with the visitors going the 75-yard distance in 10 plays, once again helped by a Dallas penalty, this time a 15-yard facemask flag on Markquese Bell. Throw in two receptions for 23 yards by Metcalf, and five runs for 26 yards from Charbonnet and the Seahawks took little time to reach the Dallas 5-yard line. Smith then capped things off by scrambling up the middle for the touchdown.

Rinse and repeat, the flags continued to fly, this time in the Cowboys' favor. On their ensuing possession, Seattle provided five penalties to help the Dallas cause. That mess resulted in a touchdown for the Cowboys, Pollard cutting around the right end the final 6 yards for the score.

And then, Bland did what Bland does. The defense finally got its first stop of the night when the cornerback stepped in front of a Smith offering to record his NFL-leading eighth interception of the season.

Unfortunately, despite being set up at the Seahawks' 28-yard line, the Cowboys failed to take advantage of the gift. Unable to move the chains after three downs, they decided to for it on fourth-and-2, only to have Prescott's pass to Lamb fall incomplete.

When Smith then immediately completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Noah Fant, the Seahawks were on the move again.

Fourth Quarter

Seattle began the final frame with first-and-goal at the Cowboys' 6 after a 39-yard rush by Charbonnet around the left end. One snap later, a wide open Metcalf had his third touchdown catch of the night.

Dallas certainly wasn't ready to give up, though. Helped by, you guessed it, a 35-yard pass interference call on the Seahawks, the Cowboys were able to work down to their opponent's 17-yard line. But from there, they regrettably lost 2 yards, leaving it to a 38-yard field goal from Aubrey to narrow the deficit to five.

Desperately needing a stop, the Dallas defense came through. Seattle again crossed midfield, reaching the Cowboys' 46-yard line, but on fourth-and-1, Charbonnet was stuffed by DeMarcus Lawrence for no gain.

This time the Cowboys offense put that field position to good use. Prescott threw four passes for 35 yards with the quarterback also running for another 8. The last of those throws was a 14-yarder to tight end Jake Ferguson and with Cooks then hauling in the two-point conversion, Dallas was back on top, 38-35.

Now in a rhythm, the Dallas defense again held Seattle in check. With the Cowboys bringing the pressure on fourth-and-4 at the Seattle 49-yard line, Smith's pass to Smith-Njigba fell incomplete. This time starting on the other side of the 50-yard line, Prescott and company got down to the Seahawks' 14, but there the drive stalled. Thankfully, Aubrey kept the scoreboard ticking, splitting the uprights from 32 yards to give Dallas an uncomfortable six-point buffer.

With 1:43 left in the game, Seattle still had one more shot, although they were now out of timeouts. Could the Cowboys defense make one last stand?

They could. On fourth-and-2 at the 50-yard line, Micah Parsons burst through the offensive front untouched, forcing Smith to throw the ball away incomplete.

Two kneel-downs later and the game was won, the Cowboys extending their home winning streak to 14 straight. Dallas now faces perhaps its biggest game of the year when the rival Philadelphia Eagles, the division leaders, come to town for a prime-time showdown next Sunday night.

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