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What The Cowboys Said Following Their Wild Card Playoff Win vs The Seahawks

Owner Jerry Jones

On his overall thoughts on the win:

“We have such respect for Seattle and their coaches. We played them earlier. We didn’t play them well. We made a lot of mistakes. We came out here today and didn’t make the kind of mistakes that can beat you. But make no mistake about it, they weren’t going to quit until the bell rung. It was a big win. We know a lot of guys in the league don’t get to play and win in the playoffs. We know that. But this bunch, especially being so young, now knows, forevermore, that they can play in and win a playoff game.”

On if his belief in Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott was validated on the game’s final drive:

“I don’t want to zero in on that last drive like that. But obviously, we needed to run time off the clock and not make mistakes to end up keeping that lead. You saw how fast it can go away when they come back and score as quickly as they did. But the bottom line is that I didn’t need that last drive to be proud of the fact that we drafted Dak or Zeke.”

On what Dak Prescott proved in the win:

“He showed that he won this playoff game. He took it on his shoulders. He made plays that put us in position to come out like we did. That’s what you want from your quarterback. Their quarterback (Russell Wilson) lived up to his skill level of what he is. He really gave us all we could handle.”

On how he is feeling overall after the win:

“I just feel good about the team. I think we have improved. I think we are improving at the right time.”

On the crowd at AT&T Stadium:

“It was wonderful. They never let up. It was easily the loudest crowd I can remember in the stadium. Their timing was great. They had the same impact on the game as the fans do when we go to Seattle.”

On the way the defense performed:

“They deserve credit. We all know it takes both sides, but our defense played outstanding.”

On what this win means for Jason Garrett:

“This win against a very credible Seattle team will make people think more highly of Jason. Look around at all the teams searching for red October and trying to find themselves a coach right now. We’ve got one that has a lot of experience on our dime over the last several years. I’d like to use it.”

On if he feels vindicated seeing Jason Garrett have success this season:

“I do. It’s a feeling that I’m proud for him. I know how hard he works. He’s right there with the hardest working coach that we’ve had. That’s supposed to pay off. He certainly has some things that he’s worked on like all of us do. But I know that he’s worked really hard to put a young team like this on the field. A lot his fingerprints are on this team. I’m glad he’s having success as a head coach.”

On if this team is built to win a playoff game on the road:

“I do. I think we’re physical. Our defense is physical. I think our offense is physical. We’ve had road experience. We’ve had some tough hands on the road this year. They didn’t like that we went to school and made all A’s. Seriously, we’ve had some really good experience as to how to be better on the road. I think our adversity on the road, which most of the time in football it does, can help us on the road.”

On how possible he thought winning a playoff game was after the team’s midseason loss to Tennessee:

“The Cowboys have a history of having some average records then coming on and really having some fine teams. It’s just a journey. It’s been described as a marathon. You’re going to have times when you’re going to have to reinvent the wheel during a season. It’s like the old wagon train. We’re going to burn some of these wagons on the way to California, break them down and float the Mississippi River. A lot of people are going to die. But I’m going to make it to California. I hope you’re on the train with me. That’s kind of the way you look at a football team. We’ve got a lot of guys that can make it to California, I think.”

Head Coach Jason Garrett

On the toughness of the Dallas Cowboys:

“I don’t think there’s any question, that’s line one. When you talk about our team and you talk about this game. There are two parts to it. There’s the physical toughness, we knew it was going to be a physical football game. We knew we had to battle and win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. But it was more than that, it was the other guys; the runners, the tight end, the receivers, everybody had to demonstrate physical toughness. Same token, on the other side on defense, all three levels of defense. I thought we did that throughout the ball game. I thought we were able to possess the ball and wear them out over the course of the game. More importantly it’s the mental toughness, to be our best and play with the conviction and the edge that we need to for 60 minutes. We knew we were going to have success in the game, we had to keep playing. We knew we were going to have adversity in the game, that’s a good football team. Really well coached, really good in all areas, some big time players over there and they’ve won a lot of games. We knew it was going to be a battle, knew they would keep coming back. I thought we responded well throughout the ball game and handled it well. Did what we needed to do to win it.”

On the final drive:

“It was big and so much of the physical toughness we try to instill into our football team is going to show up at the end of the ball game. That’s how you’re going to win the 4th quarter, by wearing them out in the first three quarters. Again, that’s a good football team, and they were physical too. We scratched and clawed and battled for every inch on both sides of the ball. Ultimately, I do think that we wore them down and were able to control it right at the end of the ball game and do what we needed to do.”

On Dak Prescott:

“He’s just a rare guy. His leadership, his toughness, just his way, his spirit it’s like none other. Somehow, someway he was going to figure this thing out for us. You said it, in that situation at the end of the ball game it’s 3rd and 14 you don’t really anticipate making that. Somehow, someway he was going to find a way to get it done. I thought he did it throughout the ball game, I thought he was outstanding. Made the big plays when they were there, made a lot of little plays in the game. Didn’t really make any critical errors in the game and obviously showed up throwing it and running it in the critical moments.”

On Ezekiel Elliott:

“He was outstanding. Again, a really good defense, a really good run defense, so hard to run against those guys. Every inch is contested and he just kept battling. There were some hard, tough runs. Some one-yard runs, two-yard runs, six, seven eight guys are hitting him. He just kept coming. Talk about physical toughness, talk about mental toughness, he embodies that. Talk about a competitive spirit, talk about a guy who wants it in the critical moments. Boy, he was something else. Made some big plays in the ball game, some big runs but made a lot of dirty runs. A lot of dirty runs throughout the ball game that showed up at the end of the game for us. He’s a big time football player.

On Tavon Austin and Amari Cooper:

“Tavon really gave us a shot in the arm a number of big plays both in the kicking game and on offense throughout the game. Cooper came up big time, again at the critical moments after we got the ball at midfield, to make that big play to get us down into the red zone was big for us. He’s a damn good football player, he’s done a lot for our team.”

On the Cowboys run defense:

“We take a lot of great pride in stopping the run too. It’s about discipline, it’s about winning your gap, it’s about setting the edge, it’s about tackling. But it’s also about physical and mental toughness, that’s a really important part of our football team. I think we’ve defended the run really well throughout the year. There are only a couple of instances where we didn’t feel really good about how we defended the run in a ball game. We take great pride in doing that. We knew they were going to want to run the football a lot of different ways, somehow, some way we needed to stop it. We needed discipline, we needed to be tough, we needed to tackle, I thought we did that throughout the ball game.”

On Russell Wilson:

“Talk about a hell of a player. He’s just a great football player. Time and time again, he’s so dangerous with the ball in his hands. He can beat you from the pocket, but he can also get out and make those plays and he made them periodically throughout the ball game. When it looked like they were struggling to get the ball moving, there he goes. He makes a big throw or buys some time to make another play down the field. He’s a great football player, a great competitor.”

On thoughts of changing approach to Seattle’s injury in the kicking game:

“Not really. We knew they’d be in four down territory, we knew they’d go for two. So we anticipated those situations. We would have had a decision to make towards the end there about kicking a field goal or making it to four down territory, ourselves. Knowing they would have to come back to score a touchdown. Thankfully it didn’t come to that, for us. You try your best to anticipate what they may or may not do based on what they have.”

On Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith:

“He’s done such a great job transitioning into this league. He’s around the football a lot, he just makes a ton of plays. He’s a very good tackler, he’s got very good instincts for the game, so he gets there. Time and time again, he was around it and he made plays. Jaylon Smith was physical throughout this ball game. Those two guys, the presence they’ve given us in the middle of the defense has been outstanding on top of what our guys are doing.”

On the Divisional Round:

“We just focus on our team and what our team needs to do. There are a lot of positive things in this game but obviously so much we have to clean up. So we’ll get back to work on that. We don’t know who the next opponent is. The biggest thing we have to do is focus on ourselves and do what we need to do to get better.”

On the Cowboys defense:

“They did a fantastic job tonight, particularly early in the game. Getting those three and outs early, I think are so big. You’re going to find your way on offense in games like this. I thought we did a good job continuing to battle through things and cash in on drives here and there and throughout and certainly towards the end of the ball game, we did a good job offensively. The defense was really consistent throughout the game, we talked earlier about stopping the run, such a big part of playing good defense. They did make a couple of plays in the passing game; we want to make sure we clean that stuff up. But for the most part they gave us a hell of a chance to win this ball game.” 

On Allen Hurns:

“Not a good situation for Allen. He made a big time play for us converting a first down for us in that situation. But it’s a serious injury that he has. It’s a challenging situation for players, you’re emotionally ready to play, you’re going in the flow of a ball game and then that happens. Trust me, the guys on our football team care so much about each other and love each other so much and they see their brother on the field like that, that’s not easy. You have to regroup, you have to be a professional, you have to get back to work. Allen is in good hands. He’s going to come back, he’s going to play a lot of football for us in the future. But I thought our guys responded well with that and just got back to work.”

On the nature of the injury to Allen Hurns:

“I don’t want to get into too many details. It was a significant injury to his lower leg.”

On the Cowboys pass rush against Russell Wilson:

“I think the one thing that we try to emphasize all week long is, let’s not get into a game where we don’t rush because we’re trying to be so disciplined in our rush. We don’t get off, we don’t put any pressure on him. Sometimes you see on tape he’s standing back there because everyone is afraid of him getting out. So we had to rush, we had to get off the ball, we had to put pressure on him. We also had to have rush discipline. I thought for the most part, our guys did that. We kept him in the pocket, we kept him in the well and it was that much more challenging for him to make those plays he’s capable of making.”

On who the next opponent will be:

“We don’t care. We got to focus on us. We got to clean this game up and we got to get back to work.”

On Kris Richard interviews tomorrow:

“We anticipate him interviewing at the end of the day tomorrow.”

QB Dak Prescott

On his emotions during the final snap: “Obviously, just excitement. Excitement that we got this win, that we got this first one. Just pure excitement, excitement for the team and the way we got it done through the ups and the downs. We were able to stick it out as we’ve done all season long. It was exciting.”

On his 16-yard run: “When we call any play, they are all designed to get touchdowns. We don’t necessarily say that this play is a five-yard play. When coach called that play, I don’t know if we expected it to get 16, but guys just did their job. Guys got on a body and made some blocks that allowed me some running space to get down there, close to getting in the end zone.”

On Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott’s comments: “I feel like I’m a grown-ass man just in general. Playing like it or not, I’ll take the compliment. Obviously it felt good tonight. Everybody worked well together and when we can do that, it makes my job easier.”

On his plays close to the end zone: “Both of those down there, I knew I wasn’t in the end zone.”

On his expectations moving forward: “You win championships with defense. When you have a defense like we do that’s able to get stops, make big plays, and get turnovers, then an explosive offense like we do- it’s just a great combination. We play well together, we compliment each other and we’re never out of a game. We just have a great, relentless spirit about ourselves and we’re going to keep going no matter the success and no matter the adversity. When you have that, you just give yourself a chance week in and week out.”

On his emotions tonight. “We went into this game expecting to do what we did, knowing we’re playing a great Seattle team, knowing the game was going to serve us some ups and some down. We expected it. We expected to win. It was exciting. We’re in a tournament where you win or go home and we won it, so we’re going to go on to the next one. It’s about moving forward now.”

On following up a playoff loss in 2016: “It’s 2019 now. One game at a time and we’re on to the next.”

On his touchdown pass to Cowboys WR Michael Gallup: “We had a couple of plays called right there and I was able to get to that play, give Gallup a nine route, a fade ball. Really just a great catch by him, great patience. It was something that we’ve worked on numerous times. Over and over. Watching film together with the receivers, working on timing that they know when I’m going to get them the ball. It all worked out. He did a great job of letting the ball fall in and showing the guy off. Great job by Michael.”

On his touchdown pass to Cowboys WR Michael Gallup: “Coach sometimes gives me two plays, and that was the play to go with for me.”

On Elliott calling him ‘legendary’: “I’m in a young career. I’m three years in. For him to say that… I may have to tell him to not say that again or to wait until later. Obviously it’s a great compliment. Obviously it’s a guy we came in together and we’ve been through the ups and the downs of three seasons. Just to be where we are at- with this team that we have and this offense that we have, it’s a lot of excitement. It’s a hell of a compliment.”

On his first playoff win: “It’s great. It gives us a chance to keep going on, simple as that. Me and this whole team, we want to win it all. You can’t do that without taking care of the first one and we were able to do that tonight. My goal is bigger than one playoff win.”

On Cowboys WRs Amari Cooper and Tavon Austin: “Tavon obviously caught that first punt return and made some guys miss. I said ‘oh yeah, he’s in his bag’, meaning he’s going to have a night. It was an unfortunate penalty there. He was huge, he is a momentum guy and he served that for us so much tonight. It’s great to have him back healthy and playing well. Coop is doing what he has done all year long since he has been a Cowboy. We’re just so appreciative of him. He works hard and it pays off. Credit to all the guys. The offensive line protecting and doing what they did. Zeke, week in and week out, everybody was a great version of themselves. We’re on to the next.”

On Cowboys WR Allen Hurns: “I think Hurns is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, and I think anybody on this team would say that. When a guy like that goes down, it hurts. Just seeing how nasty that was, it hurts a lot. But you keep him in your mind the whole game, knowing that Hurns would be giving it his all if he was in there. Hurns is probably one of our most underrated players, knowing he can play every position at wide out. He can even play tight end and know what he is doing. It is very, very unfortunate but prayers are with him. I’ll see him and talk to him soon.”

On his relationship with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: “He is a hell of a competitor. Any time you play against him, that is exactly what you’re going to get and tonight served no different. Russ is a guy that I’ve run into a couple times doing things in the offseason. He is a great guy, a good guy to be around. He works hard. A lot of times that I see him, it’s in the offseason and we are both training. Credit the guy with the success he has had in his whole career and his future.”

On the Cowboys offensive line: “They are the epitome of this team, being able to fill in when a guy goes down. You had a lineman that pretty much loses his spot midway through the season then probably plays one of his best games in (Cowboys G) Connor (Williams). Just a great group that sticks together. Anytime you’re around the facility, if you see one of them you see all of them. Just obviously a camaraderie with how tight they are. Obviously the heart and soul of this team.”

On tomorrow’s playoff games: “Of course I’ll watch that game tomorrow. Don’t really care who is next, just ready to get on to preparation and get ready for the next game.”

On his running game: “It was just another one of the plays. (Cowboys) Coach (Scott) Linehan gives me a couple plays in my head. Based off the week of preparation, I just know that based off of certain looks to run this play or run that play. They gave us the look to run the QB run right there. Great job by Zeke, great job by the offensive line and (Cowboys TE) Dalton (Schultz) on that play, letting me get to the edge and use my feet. Great execution there.”

On emphasis to run: “As I continue to say, it’s about going into certain games knowing they are going to give you the quarterback run, sometimes they are not… not necessarily.”

On possibility of playing in New Orleans: “Obviously, I’ve already played that team once. If that’s what it is, it’s exciting to go down there in their place and as you said, my home state. But it’s all business going down there. It’s all about the Dallas Cowboys going to take care of business.”

On proving anything to himself tonight: “No, not at all.”

On tonight’s fourth quarter: “It was something we’ve been able to do all season long. Even throughout the season in different games, just sticking together. It’s something that we preach. When you have the type of men that we have- that like to be together and have that camaraderie – when you get into games like this, you lock arms together and go into battle. That’s just the team we have. Guys want to go out there and make those plays, and want the ball in their hands. When you have a number of guys like, you give yourself a chance and tonight was no difference.”

On RB Elliott: “He was ready. He is ready every week. He told me following the game last week- ‘bro it’s not fun sitting on the sideline’. I said I know, it’s not at all. Knowing he was going to come back this week in preparation and practice, he was going to be on fire. Then it all paid off tonight.”

On WR Cooper: “He is a great receiver who gets separation, simple as that. He makes my job easy when he runs routes like he does, when he studies opponents like he does. He gets open as you saw tonight. The majority of catches he had, he was open because of the way he ran his route. Credit to that guy for making that transition easy, giving us momentum, and helping this offense.”

On his ‘acrobatic’ play: “That’s a Tank-ism right there.”

LB Leighton Vander Esch

On the playoffs:

“It’s a cool atmosphere so far, didn’t really know what to expect for the first game. But I knew it was going to be loud and it means a lot to go out there and play with this defense and be the hole that I am, but we just love playing football with each other. Getting everybody on the same page out there on the field and just taking charge, helping Jaylon run stuff on the field, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

On teammate Jaylon Smith spying the quarterback:

“Yeah, every time that you have a quarterback that can make big time plays you always want to keep a check on him where he is at and game plan towards that and I think we did a great job with that tonight.”

On Sean Lee’s impact:

“He’s always helping us. He never stops whether he’s on the field or off the field, he’s always there to help us and get us right if we have questions for him or even if he sees something that can help us or benefit us on the field. He’s right there to give it to us. I have the utmost respect for him.”

On the entire stadium howling after a play:

“It’s pretty neat. I love AT&T Stadium and they definitely help us on game day. Cowboys nation, there’s nothing else like it and when they’re rocking, we’re rocking.

On the defense finishing the game:

“It’s just our attitude, it’s not over until it’s over. Take one play at a time, knowing that we have to be on our game every single play.”

DE DeMarcus Lawrence

On what was effective on defense:

“We ran and hit. You hit the will out of somebody, they ain’t gonna want to run no more. The first time we played them, I feel like he was running the ball harder, faster and stronger. We were laying that wood today so hats off to the defense for coming to play.”

On his current thoughts:

“Thankful to be in this moment of my life; thankful to be around this group of guys and playing the game the right way, and thankful for another chance. We want to go at it full throttle and hope for the best.”

On the confidence level of the team:

“The confidence is still there, but it’s all about being patient and executing. It doesn’t matter about your confidence; everybody is good, so it’s all about going out there and executing.”

LB Jaylon Smith

On the feeling to play in a playoff game:

“Man it’s a wonderful feeling, any chance you get to play in the postseason at home in front of America’s fans. It’s a great opportunity to get a win tonight.”

On the defense limiting the opposing run game:

“The biggest was to contain, execute each and every play, everyone do there job to the best of there abilities and just achieve greatness.”

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