More articles SAN ANTONIO — With a defense that is far from perfect, the Dallas Cowboys were able to clinch their first playoff berth in 20 years Sunday, as they won their fourth straight and extended their lead in the NFC East to seven games.
The Cowboys were up 21-3 early in the third quarter and the San Antonio Spurs had just enough time to score two points to tie the game at 14 with 1:04 remaining.
But the Cowboys, who have the best record in the league at 9-0, took a 23-10 lead into halftime.
Afterward, defensive end Ezekiel Elliott said he didn’t think his teammates knew what they were doing.
The offense was struggling to find a rhythm late in the game and the Cowboys had a couple of turnovers early in that drive.
Dallas coach Jason Garrett had to call a timeout and play a pass interference call on one of San Antonio’s first two field goals of the second half, but the Cowboys were still able to pull off the victory.
After San Antonio scored its first points, Elliott said, “We just kept plugging away.
We didn’t really have much to do offensively and we just kept driving the ball down the field.”
The Cowboys have won seven straight in the division and seven of their last nine games, and Elliott said they’re feeling “a lot better.”
We just keep plugging along.””
I think we’re just getting to the point where we’re playing a little better and it’s hard to stop when we do have the ball.
We just keep plugging along.”
The win gave Dallas a 10-point cushion with six games remaining, while San Antonio has a three-game lead over Philadelphia.
It was San Antonio that scored first, a 27-yard field goal by quarterback Matt Barkley that made it 14-0 with 1 minute, 34 seconds remaining.
San Antonio got off to a good start, and quarterback Eli Manning threw two touchdown passes in the first three minutes.
Then the Cowboys took control and scored the first points of the fourth quarter on a 23 to 23 score with 7:11 left.
It was their second score of the game.
Kurt Warner answered Elliott’s call and hit a 45-yard pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant, who then caught a 26-yard touchdown pass to Dez White.
White was able to get open on a pass by Bryant, and he scored on a 14-yard run that put the Cowboys up 16-7 with 4:51 left in the fourth.
After White scored, the Cowboys put the game away on a 5-yard rush by Bryant with 6:08 left in a span of about 15 seconds.
Bryant added a 4-yard score to put the Giants ahead 23-16.
White, who missed two games with a hamstring injury, has now scored 17 points in his last four games.
Elliott said he was not sure whether White would be available for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
White has also missed the past two games.