Seattle’s Tyler Lockett (left) is consoled by teammate Doug Baldwin after Saturday’s game in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Seattle’s Tyler Lockett (left) is consoled by teammate Doug Baldwin after Saturday’s game in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Down and out: Seahawks’ season ends with playoff defeat

Dallas pulls ahead in the second half, hangs on for wild-card win.

The Seattle Seahawks defied the odds just getting into the playoffs. However, their defiance came to an end Saturday night.

Seattle’s season came to an end as the Seahawks fell 24-22 to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round at AT&T Stadium.

Seattle struggled on offense all game long, and Dak Prescott’s 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2 minutes, 8 seconds remaining gave the Cowboys a 24-14 lead and stood up as the game-winning score.

The Seahawks made one last bid at a comeback, with quarterback Russell Wilson moving the team 75 yards in 50 seconds, culminating in a 7-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic and ensuing 2-point conversion run by Chris Carson with 1:18 remaining. However, with kicker Sebastian Janikowski out injured, punter Michael Dickson’s attempted onside drop kick was easily fair caught by Dallas’ Cole Beasley to effectively end the game.

“It’s very disappointing to be done right now. Nobody wants to go home. These guys are ready and raring to go. We thought we were just getting warmed up, but that’s the way it is,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll, whose team was expected to take a nosedive after losing several franchise mainstays during the offseason. “I coudn’t be more forward thinking about these guys. I couldn’t be more positive about what’s here in this locker room and what can happen for these guys.”

The biggest problem for Seattle was it was never able to establish its run game. The Seahawks were the NFL’s top running team during the regular season. However, Seattle managed just 73 yards on 24 carries against the Cowboys, which was less than half its season average.

“We were getting three (yards), four at best,” Carroll said. “Nothing was popping. We weren’t as good, and so third downs weren’t where we wanted to be. We just couldn’t get going. We couldn’t get the rhythm of it.”

Saturday’s game was between two of the hottest teams in the NFL as Dallas came into the game having won seven of its past eight and Seattle entered having won six of seven. It was also billed as a matchup between two offenses that can run the ball.

But it was Dallas’ offense that made the difference. The Cowboys, despite significantly outgaining Seattle, trailed 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter. But on the drive following the Seahawks’ go-ahead touchdown Dallas went 67 yards on nine plays, with Ezekiel Elliott scoring on a 1-yard run to restore the Cowboys’ lead.

Then after twice holding Seattle to three-and-out, Dallas put together the game-winning drive. A pair of pass interference penalties on Seattle on third downs, along by a big conversion on third-and-14 on a 16-yard quarterback draw by Prescott, ended with Prescott’s 1-yard sneak that created a 10-point lead Seattle couldn’t overcome.

TOP PERFORMERS

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas. The Cowboys’ running back showed just why he was the league’s leading rusher, gaining 137 yards on 26 carries and scoring a touchdown. His 44-yard burst late in the first half set up the touchdown that gave Dallas a 10-6 halftime lead.

Amari Cooper, Dallas. The midseason trade acquisition was the big difference from when Seattle beat the Cowboys 24-13 in Week 3 in Seattle, providing Dallas with a big-play threat as he finished with seven catches for 106 yards.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle. The receiver was the Seahawks’ most dangerous player, catching four passes for 120 yards, including a huge 53-yarder on Seattle’s final drive that gave the Seahawks a glimpse of hope. He also had a 52-yard punt return.

K.J. Wright, Seattle. The linebacker missed most of the season because of a knee injury, and he’s a free agent this offseason. But if this was his last game as a Seahawk, he made the most of it with nine tackles, including one for a loss, and a critical interception in the end zone.

INJURY UPDATE

Seattle starting left guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) was a game-time decision, but he played, meaning the Seahawks’ offensive line was intact.

There was a long delay midway through the first quarter when Dallas receiver Allen Hurns had to be carted off after suffering a gruesome broken leg.

Seattle was without a kicker in the second half as Janikowski suffered a hamstring injury while missing a 57-yard field-goal attempt as time expired on the first half. His absence complicated Seattle’s play calling in the second half as the Seahawks were not comfortable attempting field goals.

BOX SCORE

Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22

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