zekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys hung on for a 24-22 win over the Seahawks in a wild-card round game in the NFC playoffs 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. The Cowboys will travel to play the Saints or the 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.
The Cowboys 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 games in the wild-card round.
“Our defense was great,” Prescott said. “They keep us in every game.”
It was the eighth win in nine games for the Cowboys.
“We had so much confidence coming it this game and our confidence remains,” Prescott said. “It’s all about the way we fought. I’m proud of my guys.”
Prescott, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 when the Cowboys lost to the Packers 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 Seahawks touchdown.
Wilson’s 7-yard scoring pass to J.D. McKissic got the Seahawks within four, and they made it a two-point game on their second two-point conversion following an injury to kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
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 Cowboys’ 31, sealing their first playoff win since beating the Lions in the wild-card round after the 2014 season.
Prescott led a 67-yard drive to put the Cowboys in front. A 34-yard pass to Amari Cooper, who had seven catches for 106 yards, led to Elliott’s 1-yard plunge after an apparent touchdown by the quarterback was overturned on replay.
Prescott had a chance to give the Cowboys a 10-point lead, but K.J. Wright made a juggling interception in the end zone.
The Cowboys defense came through again, though, forcing a punt and giving Elliott and Prescott a highlight play apiece on a drive to Prescott’s 1-yard sneak for a 24-14 lead with 2:08 remaining.
First, Elliott stiff-armed Shaquill Griffin on a 17-yard run to get inside the 20, then Prescott scrambled up the middle before a head-over-heels hit from Tedric Thompson at the Seahawks’ 1. Prescott scored on the next play.
Seattle got a double dose of bad news at halftime when Janikowski missed a 57-yard field goal on the final play and injured his left thigh. He yelled as he grabbed the back of his leg and limped to the locker room, unable to return.
Still, the Seahawks took their first lead basically because the 40-year-old’s injury forced them to try.
Facing fourth-and-5 in Janikowski’s range from the Dallas 39, Doug Baldwin made a toe-dragging catch on the sideline for 22 yards. After Wilson ran 4 yards for a touchdown, the Seahawks went for two, pushing the lead to 14-10 on Mike Davis’ run.
But the Cowboys never did lose control of the Seahawks’ running game after allowing Chris Carson’s first 100-yard game in a Week 3 win that turned the season for the Seahawks, who finished the regular season with six wins in seven games.
Carson had just 20 yards on 13 carries. Wilson was 18 of 27 for 233 yards, with Lockett getting four catches for 120 yards.