The Cowboys recorded their first win of the year over a team that entered the matchup with a winning record, and it did not come easy. The Cowboys had to scratch and claw their way to a win in this one, beating the Seahawks 41-35. In a game this close, there were plenty of big plays to go around, but these five stood out from the rest of the crowd.
Dak Prescott breaks sack, finds Jalen Tolbert for first down
The Cowboys had just given up their lead again, and were now trailing 35-27. As the offense took the field at the start of the fourth quarter, they knew it was imperative to score on this next drive.
On first down at the Seattle 34, just on the cusp of field goal range, Dak Prescott dropped back and was immediately swarmed by an edge rusher for what looked like a crushing sack. But Prescott refused to quit:
In a moment that would make for a perfect MVP sizzle reel, Prescott forced his way out of the sack and scrambled out to his right, hitting Jalen Tolbert down the sideline for a first down. Not only did it turn a negative play into a positive, with Dallas ultimately kicking a field goal, but Prescott’s grit in that moment turned out to be indicative of the team’s mentality in the fourth quarter: there was no quit in this team.
DeMarcus Lawrence’s clutch run stuff on fourth down
With the Cowboys only scoring three points off that drive, they desperately needed a stop from a defense that hadn’t been able to get off the field all night long. After giving up a few first downs, Dallas finally got a third down stop.
However, with fourth and one and the ball just on the Dallas side of midfield, Seattle decided to go for it. At the snap, they handed it off to bruising running back Zach Charbonnet, who had a hole. Until...
DeMarcus Lawrence knifed through the offensive line and tripped up Charbonnet, who fell down at the line of scrimmage. Just like that, the Cowboys got the stop they so badly needed and gave the offense a short field.
Dak Prescott finds Jake Ferguson for go-ahead touchdown
The Cowboys offense took the field at their own 46-yard line and, with seven minutes left in the game and trailing 35-30, absolutely had to score a touchdown here. The offense quickly moved the ball down the field, getting inside the 10 before a delay of game penalty backed them up.
That set up second and seven at the Seattle 12, which is when Prescott went for the killshot.
JAKE FERGUSON FOR THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/JE8yX1TfBl— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) December 1, 2023
A perfectly thrown ball to Jake Ferguson, who overpowered Jamal Adams - the same Adams that had been jawing with Ferguson earlier in the game - to snag the touchdown. Just like that, the Cowboys were leading again, and a successful two-point conversion made it a field goal lead. The touchdown came at the most crucial moment, and it’s nice to see the offense answer the call at a time like that.
Jourdan Lewis’ big pass breakup on third down
The Cowboys still had to stop Seattle, though. They took a three-point lead with just over four minutes left in the game, so the defense needed to stand tough one more time. Or, as it turned out, two more times.
The Seahawks once again found themselves right at midfield, and Geno Smith targeted Jaxon Smith-Njigba over the middle on third down. It appeared that Smith-Njigba was in position for the first down, but Jourdan Lewis flew in to bat the ball down, bringing up fourth down.
The Seahawks went for it on fourth down, and a free rusher caused Smith to lob a bad pass in Smith-Njigba’s direction that was ultimately uncatchable. But the breakup from Lewis, who has taken quite a bit of criticism this year, was massive in denying what almost certainly would’ve been a first down.
Micah Parsons calls game
After the failed fourth down, the Cowboys offense managed to eat up a minute and a half off the clock before kicking another field goal to extend the lead to six points. Still, Seattle would have one last drive, with just over 100 seconds left, to try and win by one point.
Once again, the Seahawks got the ball to midfield, this time right on the 50-yard line. But a failure on third down brought up a do-or-die fourth down. That’s when Micah Parsons stepped up and called game.
It was speculated, and later confirmed by Smith, that the play called for Parsons to be left unblocked in order to sneak the running back behind him for a quick pass. However, Parsons was far too fast for that, and Lawrence was right next to DeeJay Dallas even if the pass had been completed. As a result, Parsons came up big and two Landry Shifts later, the Cowboys escaped with a thrilling win.