ARLINGTON, Texas — Appears to be like, the Dallas Cowboys did no longer need any aid to clinch their 2d NFC East title in three seasons.
The Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-20 Sunday to stable a playoff device, their third in the past 5 seasons.
Had the Philadelphia Eagles misplaced to the Houston Texans, the Cowboys would possibly possibly perhaps enjoy won the division title even with a loss Sunday after the Washington Redskins misplaced Saturday The Eagles won to dwell in the wild-card dawdle, nonetheless the Cowboys enter their Week 17 finale in opposition to the Unusual York Giants with none stress.
It has been reasonably a turnaround for the Cowboys.
A playoff device seemed a ways from doubtless after the Cowboys’ Nov. 5 loss to the Tennessee Titans left them with a three-5 file, nonetheless they’ve won six of their past seven games to get the postseason.
A success seasons in Dallas, on the replace hand, are defined by steady postseason success, and the Cowboys enjoy no longer made it to a Huge Bowl — or played in an NFC Championship Sport — since 1995. The Cowboys enjoy won neutral three playoff games since grand Huge Bowl XXX and neutral one with Jason Garrett as head coach, in 2014.
Garrett’s job restful couldn’t be stable even with a playoff showing. He is signed thru 2019, and if the Cowboys are to get anything else larger than a cameo look in the playoffs, they’ve loads to dapper up, especially offensively.
Per week after getting shutout by the Indianapolis Colts, the offense scored two touchdowns nonetheless one became as soon as on a four-yard drive after Randy Gregory recovered a Tampa Bay fumble in the third quarter. After going Seventy five yards on eight plays on their first drive, the Cowboys did no longer enjoy a drive with multiple first downs over their next 5 possessions.
That drive ended the capacity too many drives enjoy ended interior the opponent’s 20: with a Brett Maher self-discipline purpose. Dak Prescott‘s 7-yard bustle on the opening drive became as soon as the Cowboys’ third crimson-zone touchdown in their final four games, nonetheless in seeking to score on their 2d crimson-zone time out of the recreation Amari Cooper became as soon as dropped for a 7-yard loss on a shovel jog. Going thru third and purpose from the Tampa Bay 10, the Cowboys had to resolve for Maher’s 2d self-discipline purpose of the recreation for a 20-Thirteen lead.
Appropriate 1:18 after the self-discipline purpose, Gregory recovered a muffed handoff between Jameis Winston and Bobo Wilson on a jet sweep on the Buccaneers’ four. Groans went up after Prescott’s first-down proceed jog to Noah Brown fell incomplete. Cheers went up when Prescott found Michael Gallup on a proceed for a touchdown jog on the quite plenty of aspect of the rupture zone.
In the playoffs, groups wish to maximise scoring alternatives. On the season, the Cowboys enjoy converted neutral 21 of forty six probabilities interior the opponents’ 20. That must switch.
If the Cowboys’ protection can score touchdowns, love they did Sunday, then maybe there would possibly be a runt bit hope.
Late in essentially the most important quarter, Gregory compelled Winston to fumble on a third-down sack and Jaylon Smith scooped up the free ball and returned it 69 yards for the Cowboys’ first defensive touchdown of the season.
The Buccaneers added a behind touchdown to end the gap to seven solutions with 2:05 to play, nonetheless the Cowboys were ready to bustle out the clock with Prescott taking a knee.
It wasn’t a elegant playoff-clinching care for, nonetheless brooding about where the Cowboys were on Nov. 5, making the postseason with one recreation to spare is one thing of an accomplishment.