Cowboys fail again, Eagles dominate

NFC Divisional Round recap


Courtesy of Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons

Dallas Cowboys Kicker Brett Maher missed four straight PATs in an NFL playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday.

LUKE WESTFALL, Evergreen reporter

Saturday and Sunday’s Divisional Round Playoffs gave us a pair of NFC games that were polar opposites: One massive blowout and one back-and-forth defensive masterclass. Who emerged victorious and advanced to the NFC Championship?

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

After a magical season by first-year head coach Brian Daboll and the Giants, they hoped to break a nine-game road losing streak against their divisional rival the Eagles, but the Eagles, who swept the season series, had other plans.

To put it short, the Giants were never in the same ballpark as the Eagles in this one and the tides turned early after an Eagles scoring drive ending in a 16-yard Jalen Hurts touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert.

Down 7-0, the Giants, who had been aggressive all year, went for it on fourth down from the Eagles’ 40-yard-line and failed, sparking the beginning of the end.

Hurts hit wide receiver DeVonta Smith for a 9-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-0 lead and the Eagles widened the gap ending the first half up 28-0. 

A comeback unfortunately for New York was not in the cards this day. Their only touchdown came in the third quarter on an 8-yard run from running back Matt Breida to briefly make it 28-7.

Philadelphia got all but five of their 121 scrimmage yards in the fourth quarter on the ground to bury the Giants, 38-7. It was a showing of dominance from Philadelphia and ultimately shows that while the Giants are on the rise, they are not there yet, but a fully healthy Eagles team is a force to be reckoned with.

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni in his post-game press conference compared Hurts to Michael Jordan, for the unique talent he is.

Hurts didn’t need to do much in this one because of the point deficit, but he still went 16-24 with 154 passing yards and two touchdowns adding a rushing touchdown. 

Running back Kenneth Gainwell picked up 112 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown and fellow back Miles Sanders had 90 yards on 17 carries.

The Eagles are clearly super bowl contenders, so who might they face next week for the NFC?

San Fransisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys

With two teams fresh off blowout wins in the wild-card round with championship aspirations and rich championship-filled histories, this one was sure to be a classic.

The main storyline in this game was defense. Both teams averaged under 4 yards per carry and neither team reached 250 passing yards.

Dak Prescott started slowly throwing an interception to Niners cornerback Deommodore Lenoir leading to a Niner’s field goal.

Prescott responded with a touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Schultz. However, Dallas kicker Brett Maher, who missed four extra points in the wild-card round, had his extra point blocked, so the Dallas lead was only 6-3.

San Francisco tied the game at six before linebacker Fred Warner intercepted Prescott inside the Niner’s red zone leading to a field goal to make it a 9-6 game at halftime.

In a 9-9 tie, the Niners led a 91-yard drive ending in a two-yard touchdown run by running back Christian McCaffrey to retake a 16-9 lead.

Dueling field goals made the game 19-12 with 3:08 left in the game. The Cowboys’ drive stalled, leading to a controversial decision by head coach Mike McCarthy to punt.

Dallas did get the ball back with 10 seconds left, however. Prescott seemed to complete a pass to Schultz, but after review, Schultz didn’t get a second foot down. With one play left, the Cowboys attempted a trick play so confusing, you have to see it for yourself. Running back Ezekiel Elliott snapped the ball, Prescott completed the pass for minimal gain and the Niners clinched the victory.

Dallas now has now gone 12 consecutive postseasons without an NFC Championship appearance, their last being the 1995–96 -TD season. Star running back and impending free agent Tony Pollard was also carted off with fractured fibula, which played a large role in the outcome.

The Niners’ top performer, tight end George Kittle, had 95 yards on five catches thanks to their rookie quarter Brock Purdy, a rookie of the year candidate who was the last pick in the NFL draft this year. Purdy started as a third-string QB titled “Mr. Irrelevant,” but is now leading his team to the NFC Championship.

The Cowboys have many questions to answer this offseason, none larger than those surrounding Prescott, but the Niners find themselves in their third NFC championship in four years, looking to avenge last year’s loss next week versus Philadelphia.

Despite two very different results in the Divisional Round, fans around the NFL are in for a treat next week when these two juggernauts square off in Philadelphia.