Dallas Cowboys playoff hopes survive through wild finish
By Tyrone Starr
In their final game without Ezekiel Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys find yet another way to persevere and keep very slim playoff hopes alive for one more week.
At this point, I don’t believe there is anything that could happen to the Dallas Cowboys that would shock anyone.
The 2017 season for this team has been one of, if not the most odd years in franchise history.
There was the now (finally) complete cloud of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension drama. The slight sophomore slump for Dak Prescott. The bizarre year for Dez Bryant. The random injuries to key players such as Sean Lee and Tyron Smith.
Oh, and don’t forget blown leads, blowouts, the lack of an offense, the emergence of a young defense and a folded piece of paper.
Yeah, you read that correctly.
It just may come down to a folded piece of paper to determine whether or not this Dallas Cowboys team plays in the month of January.
If you happen to have not been able to watch Sunday night’s game, a critical fourth down conversion was so close to call, it required an odd form of measurement. Referee Gene Steratore, famous for robbing this team in Green Bay, used a folded piece of paper to keep a Cowboys drive alive.
Of course, in true 2017 Dallas Cowboys fashion, even that oddity was not enough. Somehow the Cowboys could not capitalize on two chances from inside the two yard line. Settling for three instead of six set the stage for the opponent.
For some reason, the Dallas defense refused to end the game with a simple interception. Instead, a 55-yard pass interference penalty forced some unnecessary white knuckle drama.
In the end, it was the sometimes beloved, often bemoaned Jeff Heath who took his turn as season savior. With Oakland quarterback Derek Carr heading towards the end zone, SuperHeath flew out of nowhere to simultaneously force Carr out and knock the ball from his hands. The fortuitous forward bounce of the ball put an end to Oakland’s night and gave Dallas another week to fight.
With two weeks left, these Cowboys are still clutching their straw of a playoff shot with a desperate grip. Thankfully, the straw that stirs their drink is back in the fold.
Elliott’s return should serve as both an emotional boost and a performance enhancer on the field of play. The offense, at times non-existent without Zeke, will undoubtedly get a much needed shot in the arm.
As this team still needs help from others, their own destiny looks far more bright with Elliott in the mix. Dallas must resist the temptation to act as if all is well, however. This team needs to still play with desperation.
As Elliott returns, Smith may be out once again which is a different sort of burden on the offense. Their next two opponents also represent more of a mountain than a mole hill. The Seahawks, fresh off an embarrassing home loss, will be desperate as well. Please don’t think that the Eagles will just roll over for Dallas either.
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This insanely wacky season is not yet over. Who knows what to expect over the final two weeks. One thing is for certain, if nothing else, the Dallas Cowboys always make things interesting.
For better or worse.