ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott saw an opening up the middle, then three defenders between him and the first down.
The Dallas quarterback found a way to get there, and get his first playoff victory two years after a sensational rookie season ended in disappointment.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, Prescott scored on a sneak after his dazzling head-over-heels run and the Cowboys hung on for a 24-22 wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.
The win for the Cowboys (11-6) was the first for Elliott and Prescott after losing a divisional game in their playoff debut as first-year stars two years ago. Dallas will play at either New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round next weekend.
“It’s really just a chance to keep going on, simple as that,” Prescott said. “Me and this whole team, we want to win it all. You can’t do that without taking care of the first one. A lot of excitement, but my goal is bigger than just one playoff win.”
The loss ended a run of nine straight victories in playoff openers for the Seahawks (10-7). The Elias Sports Bureau says it was the longest streak in NFL history.
Leading 17-14, Prescott faced third-and-14 from the Seattle 17 with the 2-minute warning approaching. He took off up the middle on a QB draw, barged through a trio of defenders 6 yards short of the first and went down at the 1 when he was flipped head-first by Tedric Thompson.
Prescott, who also had an 11-yard scoring pass to Michael Gallup in the first half, scored on the next play in the eighth win in nine games for the Cowboys.
“He’s just a rare guy,” coach Jason Garrett said. “His leadership, his toughness, just his way, his spirit. It’s like none other. Somehow, some way, he’s going to figure this thing out for us.”
Dallas’ defense, ranked in the top 10 most of the season, stifled the NFL’s No. 1 rushing offense and mostly kept quarterback Russell Wilson under control and handed him his first loss in four wild-card games.
The Seahawks had finished the regular season with six wins in seven games to secure Wilson’s sixth playoff trip in seven years despite a roster overhaul and 0-2 start.
“This has been a special, special year,” Wilson said. “Just the growth of our team, the men in the locker room, just the way that we’ve played together, just eliminating the doubters and the things that people thought that we could only do.”
Prescott, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 when the Cowboys lost to Green Bay at home as the top seed in the NFC, threw for 226 yards, and his sneak for what appeared to be a clinching score because Dallas burned more than five minutes while taking 24-14 lead.
But Tyler Lockett’s 53-yard catch set up a quick Seattle touchdown — Wilson’s 7-yard scoring pass to J.D. McKissic. The Seahawks got within two on their second 2-point conversion following an injury to Sebastian Janikowski.
The missing kicker left the Seahawks no good options on an onside kick with 1:18 remaining. Punter Michael Dickson’s drop kick was caught by Cole Beasley at the Dallas 31, sealing the first playoff win for the Cowboys since beating Detroit in the wild-card round in the 2014 season.
After Wilson ran for 4 yards for a touchdown and Mike Davis’ 2-point conversion run put Seattle up 14-10 late in the third quarter, Prescott led a 67-yard drive to put the Cowboys back in front for good.
A 34-yard pass to Amari Cooper , who had seven catches for 106 yards, led to Elliott’s 1-yard plunge after an apparent touchdown by the quarterback was overturned on replay.
Prescott then had a chance to give the Cowboys a 10-point lead, but K.J. Wright made a juggling interception in the end zone.
Dallas’ defense came through again, though, forcing a punt and giving Elliott a highlight play before Prescott added his. The NFL rushing leader stiff-armed Shaquill Griffin on a 17-yard run to get inside the 20.
Seattle got a double dose of bad news at halftime when Janikowski missed a 57-yard field goal on the final play and injured his left hamstring. He yelled as he grabbed the back of his leg and limped to the locker room, unable to return.
Still, the Seahawks took their first lead basically because the 40-year-old’s injury forced them to try.
Facing fourth-and-5 in Janikowski’s range from the Dallas 39, Doug Baldwin made a toe-dragging catch on the sideline for 22 yards. After Wilson’s TD run, the Seahawks pushed their lead to 14-10 on Mike Davis’ run.
But the Cowboys never did lose control of the Seattle running game after allowing Chris Carson’s first career 100-yard game in a Week 3 Seattle win that turned the season for the Seahawks, who finished the regular season with six wins in seven games.
Carson had just 20 yards on 13 carries. Wilson was 18 of 27 for 233 yards, with Lockett getting four catches for 120 yards. The Seahawks had 73 yards rushing after averaging 160 during the season. Dallas came in with the No. 5 rushing defense.
“Once we go up, we do a pretty good job of getting ourselves back down, knowing that we’ve got to start over next week and we’ve got to be able to do it again,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said. “It’s a full attack mode.”
Cowboys receiver Allen Hurns fractured his left ankle in a gruesome first-quarter injury. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said after the game that Hurns was “probably in surgery at this time.” Hurns was being dragged down by Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald at the end of a 14-yard catch for a first down when his lower left leg appeared to buckle. … Seahawks cornerback Neiko Thorpe left in the first half with a shoulder injury.
Cowboys: New Orleans or the Los Angeles Rams on the road in the divisional round next weekend.
Harden scores 48 points, Rockets beat Lakers 138-134 in OT
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden was the star for the Houston Rockets as usual on Saturday night, but he and the team got a big boost from Eric Gordon in his second game back after recovering from a bruised knee.
Harden scored 48 points, Gordon added 30 and the Rockets overcame a 21-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 138-134 in overtime.
The Rockets trailed for most of the night and were down by 18 in the second-half. Gordon sent it to overtime with a 3-pointer, and made four free throws in the last seconds of the extra period.
“He’s playing unbelievable,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Gordon.
Coming off 57- and 58-point games, Harden had his 19th straight game with at least 30 and he’s had 40 in 10 of the last 13. He was 14 of 30 from the field, going 8 of 19 on 3-pointers, and hit 12 of 15 free throws.
Harden was asked if Gordon being back after missing eight games before his return on Wednesday night eased the burden on him a little bit.
“A little bit? It takes a lot of burden off me,” Harden said. “He’s so offensively gifted and talented being able to shoot the basketball, being able to get to the rim, being able to make plays for others. You get a guy like that on the floor with you it makes it easier for not only myself but for everybody.”
Brandon Ingram missed a 3 for Los Angeles before Harden hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 132-130 with less than a minute left. Ingram tied it with a basket, and Harden again made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 133-132.
Los Angeles missed a 3 before Gordon also made just 1 of 2 free throws to leave Houston up by two with 12.6 seconds left. Kyle Kuzma lost the ball and it went out of bounds to give Houston the ball back. Gordon added four free throws after that to secure the victory.
It was the second straight overtime game for both teams after Houston lost to Brooklyn on Wednesday night and Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City on Thursday night.
Kuzma had 32 points for Los Angeles and Ingram added 21 in a game where coach Luke Walton was ejected in the third quarter.
Already without LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have another injury concern after Lonzo Ball sprained his left ankle in the third quarter. Walton said his X-rays were negative but that he’d have an MRI and “we’ll see where we are after that.”
Four straight points by the Lakers stretched the lead to nine in the fourth quarter, but Harden and Gordon made consecutive 3-pointers cut it to 112-109 with about two minutes remaining.
Los Angeles made four free throws to make it 116-109 about a minute later, but Harden made two 3-pointers around a basket by Ivica Zubac to get Houston within three with about 30 seconds left.
Lance Stephenson missed a 3-pointer and Harden made two free throws to cut the lead to 118-117 with 5.7 seconds left.
Zubac made two more free throws before Gordon’s off-balance 3-pointer with 2 seconds left sent it to OT.
“I saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope running out to me and I thought he was going to fly right by me, but he stood right there,” Gordon said. “So I had to try to shoot it with confidence and I’m glad it went in.”
The Lakers built a huge lead early and were up 64-46 at halftime, with Kuzma scoring 24 points.
They were ahead by 17 with about eight minutes left in the third quarter after scoring five straight points capped by a basket from Kuzma before Houston scored the next 15 points to cut it to 74-72 three minutes later. James Ennis had five points in that stretch and P.J. Tucker capped it with a 3-pointer.
Ball was injured just before Houston’s run began. He remained on the court for a couple of minutes talking with trainer’s before he was helped to his feet where he hopped on his right foot for a few steps before being carried off the court and to the locker room by Stephenson and Michael Beasley.
Walton was ejected a couple of minutes after that when he got two technical fouls after yelling at officials during a timeout.
Ingram pointed to losing Ball as when things started to get away from the Lakers.
“Right when Lonzo went out,” he said. “That’s exactly when it went away. We lost momentum a little bit.”
Lakers: James was out for the 13th straight game with a strained left groin and did not make the trip. … Stephenson finished with 16 points.
Rockets: Harden also had eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. … Ennis returned after missing Wednesday’s game after cutting his left leg in a fall at his house. … Chris Paul missed his 14th game in a row with a strained left hamstring … Clint Capela had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.
THEY SAID IT
D’Antoni on Houston’s comeback: “Words don’t do it. That was just our guys showing a lot of heart.”
Lakers: Host Golden State on Monday night.
Rockets: Visit Philadelphia on Monday night.
‘Unsolved Mysteries’ is coming back, only ‘Stranger’
Robert Stack brought us over 500 Unsolved Mysteries episodes from 1987 to 2010 across three networks. Apparently, that’s not enough, and now the executive producer of Stranger Things wants a shot at rebooting the iconic television show for Netflix.
The series, which was hosted by Robert Stack and ran for over 500 episodes between 1987 and 2010, is being refreshed by Stranger Things EP Shawn Levy and his company 21 Laps Entertainment and Netflix.
The 12-part show will use re-enactments in a documentary format to profile real-life mysteries and unsolved crimes, lost love, cases involving missing persons and unexplained paranormal events. Each episode will focus on one mystery. In the original series, actors played the victims, criminals and witnesses but family members and police were regularly interviewed.
This is one of those shows that really doesn’t have a conclusion. It could conceivably go on indefinitely because there are always new and interesting mysteries to be solved. Since each one has its own spin and attachment to reality, there’s no need to worry about fatigue.
Some shows need to be buried forever. Others have a valid reason to keep going and get a reboot. Unsolved Mysteries falls in the latter category.
Trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum reveals everything we need and nothing we don’t
Fans of action movies have been foaming at the mouth over the John Wick series since it was launched in 2014. The first movie was amazing, scoring an uncanny 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, a rarity for action flicks. The sequel in 2017 was even better, scoring an 89% and breaking from the Hollywood tradition of completely botching things the second time around.
As the series reaches its cinematic climax, hopes are high that the long journey of the titular character, played by Keanu Reeves, will be the exception to the rule by delivering on three great movies. Few series have been able to do this, especially in the action genre. One can argue the Mission Impossible, Fast and Furious, and James Bond series were able to do it, but none of them did it consecutively. There were stinkers mixed in.
Lord of the Rings was a fantasy series with action while the original Star Wars trilogy did science fiction action like no other. Can John Wick be the first purely action trilogy to pull the trifecta?
If the trailer is any indicator, yes. Yes they can.
It has motorcycle sword fights. There’s a giant in the mix. We even get to see gun play on horseback. Throw in Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and the amazing supporting cast that has returned and suddenly there’s hope that the impossible can happen. They might be able to go from great to greater to greatest. Thankfully, this is a rare “good” trailer that gives us just enough information to know where we stand in the series but does’t have real spoilers that ruin the whole thing.
It’s noteworthy that this series has been one continuous series of events. Chapter 2 picked up shortly after the first, while Chapter 3 is an immediate continuation from Chapter 2.
The subtitle of the film, “Parabellum,” is Latin for “prepare for war.” That may not be possible since nothing can prepare fans to wait for it to come out, but we’re almost there. The film hits theaters on May 17.
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