The Dallas Cowboys face the Seattle Seahawks in the 2018 NFC wildcard Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Central Time at AT&T Stadium. Though it may be the second time the two teams encounter one another in the postseason, the Cowboys are hoping to whiteout any bad juju from the first game.
On Jan. 6, 2007, at then-Qwest Field in the 2006 NFC wildcard, also a Saturday night game with Walt Anderson the referee, an freak play occurred that set in motion the fortunes of the Millennial Cowboys. With 1:19 to go in the game, down 21-20, quarteback Tony Romo bobbled a 20-yard field goal attempt. Though Romo scooped up the loose ball and sprinted toward the goal line around the left side, Seahawks defensive back Jordan Babineaux tackled him for no gain. It was a turnover on downs, and the game was seemingly over.
First of all, it wasn’t. That’s the biggest myth this side of the Loch Ness Monster. Dallas had all three timeouts and managed to get the ball back for a Hail Mary attempt that the late Terry Glenn watched fall to the artificial turf of Qwest Field. That’s the final play of the game.
Anyway, the Cowboys have a chance to whiteout that mistake versus the Seahawks.
Romo isn’t the quarterback; Dak Prescott is. The third-year signal caller from Mississippi State seemingly has better luck than Romo. Take for example his fourth down heave for receiver Coley Beasley in the season finale at the New York Giants. Romo had the same type of play for wideout Dez Bryant, and the receiver’s pinkie touched the white boundary to rule the spectacular catch out of bounds. It’s that type of twisting of fate that has helped out Prescott in his bid to succeed and surpass Romo as the franchise quarterback for America’s Team.
The game is at AT&T Stadium where Dallas are -2.5 point favorites. The other match-up was in Seattle where the Seahawks last lost a home playoff game on Jan. 8, 2005 in the 2004 NFC Wildcard versus the St. Louis Rams. Whoever is sponsoring that venue, now CenturyLink Field, it is a tough place to win a playoff game, unless you’re Marc Bulger coached by Mike Martz.
Contrary to popular belief, Seattle coach Pete Carroll has lost a first-round playoff game before. Albeit it was not with the Seahawks, he did lose one at the Jacksonville Jaguars back in 1998 in his second year with the New England Patriots.
Who has never lost an opening round playoff game is quarterback Russell Wilson with a 5-0 record and a 2-0 mark on the road. He captained the Seahawks to a win in Washington in the 2012 NFC Wildcard on Jan. 6, 2013, and he lucked out versus the Minnesota Vikings 10-9 when kicker Blair Walsh missed on a chip shot field goal.
If the Cowboys are able to win the game, it will give the franchise momentum to return to the ranks as a top team in the NFC. The only two playoff wins between 1997 and 2018 were against the Philadelphia Eagles who were in the declining years of the Andy Reid era and the Detroit Lions, who have never won a playoff game since drubbing the Cowboys in the 1991 NFC Divisional playoffs on Jan. 5, 1992, at the Pontiac Silverdome. This would be a quality win against a Super Bowl-winning coach coming off of a masterful job to rescue a 0-2 start and produce a playoff berth. It would be notch in the bedpost to remember if they could crack the goose egg in the first-round loss column for one of this generation’s most impactful leaders as a field general.
On Saturday, the Cowboys will have a chance to whiteout what happened in Seattle nearly 12 years ago to the day. What will be written thereafter remains to be seen.