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Maligned Jason Garrett, Dak Prescott Lead Cowboys to 3rd Playoff Win in 21 Years

Stephen Jones on Prescott: "It's not always the way you draw it up, but he gets it done"

Jason Garrett, the coach so many of you can't stand, isn't going anywhere anytime soon after the Cowboys beat Seattle 24-22 in an NFC Wild Card game Saturday night.

Neither is Dak Prescott, the quarterback you spend way more time criticizing than praising.

One win -- the Cowboys' third playoff win in the last 21 years -- did all of that.

The Cowboys win over Seattle showcased the best each man has to offer.

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Garrett spends much of his time talking to his players about dealing with the successes and failures within game. He also focuses on the mental and physical toughness required to consistently win in the NFL.

Clearly, they've taken his message to heart.

When Seattle took a 6-3 lead late in the first half, the Cowboys responded immediately with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with Michael Gallup's 11-yard touchdown catch.

And when Seattle grabbed a 14-10 lead entering the fourth quarter, the Cowboys answered with 14 points and a dominant fourth-quarter performance.

It was the same type of mental toughness they displayed in each win over Philadelphia as well as in wins over Atlanta, New Orleans and the New York Giants where they made plays in the fourth quarter to win games. The Cowboys have won 10 games by eight points or less.

Garrett now has three division titles and two playoff wins in the past five seasons.

Garrett has a year left on the five-year deal that he signed after the 2014 season, but it's clear he's going to be here for awhile.

"He's done a tremendous job. I think his messaging has been amazing," executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones said. "I think they really believe in what he's doing and his concepts.

"I can tell when they talk to him, they hang on every word. I think he's done a tremendous job coaching this team."

Owner Jerry Jones said he hoped the win would change the perception of Garrett.

"This win against a very credible Seattle team will make people think more highly of Jason," Jerry Jones said. "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."

Prescott's performance as a rookie forced Tony Romo into retirement and a certain faction of the fans base has never gotten over it.

Perhaps, the Cowboys win over Seattle will help them do it, especially since Prescott notched his ninth fourth-quarter comeback, but his first in the playoffs.

He was sensational in the fourth quarter, leading Dallas on a pair of game-defining drives that turned a 14-10 deficit with 1:59 left in the third quarter into a 24-10 lead with 2:08 left in the game.

"He's just an uber competitor. He's a winner. He just pulls it out," Stephen Jones said. "Some people may say it's not always the way you draw it up, but he gets it done.

"He's a little different than some of the other quarterbacks. He does it a little different way. He's big, he's strong and on top of that no one wants it more than he does."

In the fourth quarter, he completed passes of 34 and 27 yards -- his two longest completions of the game. He also ran six times for 29 yards and scored a touchdown.

"I thought he was outstanding. He made the big plays when they were there and he made a lot of little plays in the game," Garrett said. "He didn't really make any critical errors in the game and obviously he showed up throwing it and running it in the critical moments."

No play Prescott made was more critical than the one he made with 2:33 left in the game on third-and-14.

A field goal would've given the Cowboys a six-point lead and given Russell Wilson an opportunity to win the game.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan called a quarterback draw, a play that really isn't designed to do what it did no matter what Prescott insisted after the game.

With a lead block from Ezekiel Elliott and good blocks from center Joe Looney and tight end Blake Jarwin, Prescott slithered through a labyrinth of defenders in the middle of the field.

He ran through three tackles at the Philadelphia 10 and hurdled one last defender at the 3 as he stretched out the ball in his right hand.

The result was a helicopter flip that left him a foot short of the end zone.

One play later, Prescott's quarterback sneak pushed the lead to 10 points.

"He's just a rare guy. His leadership, his toughness, just his way, his spirit it's like none other," Garrett said of Prescott. "Somehow, some way he was going to figure this thing out for us.

"In that situation at the end of the ballgame it's third-and-14 you don't really anticipate making that. Somehow, some way he was going to find a way to get it done."

That’s why Prescott is going to sign a contract that guarantees he’s in Dallas for the foreseeable future sooner rather than later this offseason and Garrett will be coaching him.

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