The Dallas Cowboys 2017 season that started out with so many positive hopes is now officially over, as Dallas was officially knocked out of the playoffs Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington as a result of their 21-12 loss at the hands of Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. The win keeps the ‘Hawks in the playoff hunt. They need to win their final game next Sunday and then have Carolina defeat Atlanta on the road, and they are officially in.
Even though the season is over as far as fans are concerned, the ‘Boys will officially close out the season next Sunday when they go to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.
The 92,150 partisan Cowboys fans in attendance got a lump of coal for Christmas in a totally lackluster performance on offense by their team. Frankly, the offensive play calling by Scott Linehan was atrocious at best, and at times almost obscene. For example, Dallas had 1st and goal at the Seattle 3 and Linehan called three consecutive pass plays, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a field goal when they desperately needed a touchdown.
There should be serious consideration in making a number of coaching changes, but Linehan should be ousted immediately after the season officially ends next week. He has proven over the course of this year that he doesn’t have a clue on how to make necessary adjustments at halftime to counter what the opponent is throwing at the offensive unit.
Jerry Jones made it very clear after the game that Jason Garrett’s job is secure for another year, but didn’t make any comments regarding assistant coaches when he faced the media after the tormenting loss.
The one positive the team had this season was that a lot of young defensive players got a lot of experience and showed a lot of promise. Rod Marinelli, Defensive Coordinator has done a good job with the young players who have had to fill in due to free agent losses and injuries to several starters through the course of the year, and he deserves to stay on.
As for the game, both teams looked tentative early on. Going in they both knew it was win and you still have a chance, lose and you are eliminated from any chance at the postseason. Both seemed cautious early on, and as a result the first quarter ended 0-0.
Dan Bailey, who missed two critical field goals down the stretch got Dallas on the board first with a 34-yard field goal with 14:11 left in the first half, giving his team a 3-0 lead. The drive was 11 plays, 42 yards and took 5:50.
Bailey added another field goal with 5:48 left in the half at the end of an 8-play, 30-yard drive that consumed 5:24. The kick was 51 yards, and the home team was up 6-0.
Wilson got the visitors on the board with 1:38 left in the half when he hit Jimmy Graham on a 3-yard TD pass, capping off a 5-play, 43-yard drive that took 2:24. Blair Walsh added the PAT and Seattle led 7-6.
The Cowboys took the lead back with just 3 seconds left in the half when Bailey connected on a second 51-yard field goal at the end of an 8-play, 49-yard drive that took 1:35. The kick put the ‘Boys back in front 9-7 at intermission.
After the Dallas defense forced a Seahawk punt to begin the second half, Justin Coleman got a pick 6 off Dak Prescott, snagging the pass at the Dallas 30. The score came with 11:19 left in the third quarter, and after Walsh connected on the PAT, Seattle led 14-9, and would never trail the remainder of the game.
Bailey connected on a 39-yard field goal at the end of the next Dallas drive, getting the Pokes closer at 14-12, but they would not light up the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. The final home drive of the season was 5 plays and covered 44 yards and took 2:43 off the clock.
The final Seattle score came on a 6-yard pass from Wilson to Doug Baldwin with 11:59 left in the game. Walsh nailed the PAT and the Cowboys trailed 21-12.
Over the remainder of the game Bailey pulled both a 34-yard field goal attempt and a 48-yard field goal attempt wide right. One had to wonder if Bailey possibly re-injured himself. We asked Coach Jason Garrett after the game if Bailey possibly suffered another injury. He stated that he didn’t know if that was the case or not. It would make sense that he probably did though because he is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL, or was until his injury.
When asked about what the team didn’t run the ball from the Seattle 3 when they had a first-and-goal, Garrett said that if the plays called had worked the question would not have been asked, and defended Linehan. While that might have been politically correct response, one would have hoped he would have admitted there should have been runs called at that point rather than passes.
When Dak Prescott faced the media for his post-game presser, we asked if he wondered why a run wasn’t called after having a first down at the 3. He also refused to question the play calling of Linehan and said that regardless of what play was called it was his job as quarterback to find a way to get the ball in the end zone and he failed. It seems that no one in the organization wants to come out and say Linehan needs to go, but it is obvious to even the casual Cowboys fan that new blood is needed. HOPEFULLY, that will be what happens at the end of the season.
Dallas fans will get the see their team once more this season, but don’t expect a win in Philly either. This team went a pathetic 3-5 at home this season. However, they are 5-2 on the road so far, so an upset of the NFC East Division Champion Eagles is not out of the question. It has just been one of those years! As the Cleveland Browns fans say every year, “Wait til next year!”Cowboy’s fans really have only one thing to cheer for when the playoffs arrive. They will be rooting heavily for every team that plays Philadelphia to win and knock the Iggles out of the playoffs. The only thing WORSE for a Dallas fan than their team not making the playoffs would be for the Eagles to win Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on February 4th!