NFL teams whose playoffs are almost closed often rest their appetizers in front of the off-season. That was not the case with the Cowboys on Saturday night.
Quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and most of the rest of the attack in the front row remained in the game until the beginning of the fourth quarter. Their final race ended with Prescott showing his fifth touchdown pass in the game, which surpassed Tony Roma’s franchise record in crossing the touchdowns of the season.
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Coach Mike McCarthy said after the match that in addition to winning, the team wanted all 48 active players to enter the game. But he also said he felt it was important for the team to create “rhythm and timing to enter the playoffs.”
“We talked about it on the Sunday after last week’s match. We all clearly felt it was the best thing to do, “McCarthy said.” The players wanted to play. Even the guys who didn’t play wanted to play, so I think it tells you where we are as a football team, and that’s exciting. That was the right thing we did, and I’m glad it turned out. “
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Cooper Rush entered Dallas for the game until 12:44, when he remained in the game. The Cowboys led 37-20 at the time. In the end, they won 51:26.
The fate of the Cowboys in the playoffs was almost certain heading for Saturday. They entered the night as No. 4 deployed in the NFC. To advance to the top three, they would need the Rams to lose to the 49ers, the Buccaneers to defeat the Panthers, and the Cardinals to lose to the Seahawks on Sunday. They would need the 49ers, Panthers and Seahawks to win seed No. 2.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Rams are 3.5-point favorites, the Cardinals 5.5-point and Buccaneers 8.5-point favorites in their matches.
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McCarthy’s decision to leave starters was in contrast to Eagles coach Nick Sirianni resting a number of offensive starters, including quarterback Jalen Hurts.
The most notable benefit for the Cowboys was Prescott, who set the team’s 37th place in the touchdown season, surpassing the Romo limit set in 2007. Meanwhile, Elliott was given a chance to reach 1,000 yards in a hurry for the first time since 2019. He did so in the second half.
Prescott finished the game competing in 21 of 27 passes at 295 yards, five touchdowns and no turnovers.
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The Cowboys (12-5) lost their previous match and lost to the Cardinals 25-22. The loss interrupted a series of four wins. Dallas was the NFL’s No. 1 scoring attack this season, but after the match with Arizona, there were fears that it was in decline. Prior to this match, the Cowboys scored more than 30 points only twice in the last six games, although one of them was the Washington 56:14 match in week 16.
If the field play off remains as it enters Sunday, Dallas would face the Cardinals again in a wild card round.