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Everything coach Mike McCarthy, QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys said after beating Seahawks

Everything the Dallas Cowboys said after beating the Seattle Seahawks 41-35 at AT&T Stadium on Thursday. Comments are courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks media relations staffs.

Coach Mike McCarthy

On the way the team closed in the fourth quarter

“I think the fourth quarter really tells a story, obviously a tremendous amount of back and forth in the first three quarters. We talk about it all the time, picking up for one another, complimentary football, clutch, you know clutch plays. The defense goes out and gets the takeaway...unfortunately we didn’t get any points off it. And then they had the two fourth down stops and obviously, the offense didn’t punt. The special teams, there wasn’t really a whole lot of activity there. Just an excellent, excellent team win.”

On what he learned about his team tonight

“Well, I told the team after the game, we need games like this. This is what December football looks like. And, you know, we all understand what’s in front of us. Because you have to win the close games. To get to where you want to go, you have to win these kinds of games. And this was a great example how you just keep hanging in there and keep playing. At halftime, we were frustrated. You know, we had a lot of penalties called and I think our guys just knuckled down and played and you know, they had some big plays there in the third quarter. But, you know, once the fourth quarter came, you know, our guys got it done at the most important time.”

On Dak Prescott tonight

“Yeah, Dak’s playing great ball, just really in sync. You know, I think just the way they played, and you know, they did a good job up front. We took a while to get some of the runs going. But that’s what you got to do in these games. You just got to keep banging away and you know, we had some, we had some big runs come out in the fourth quarter when we needed it.”

On the defense late in the game

“Fourth down stops are as good as a takeaway, so that was huge. We needed both of those. Obviously, we were behind at that point. And, you know, DeMarcus Lawrence has that knack to cross face and make plays and you know, he’s been doing this whole career.”

On DaRon Bland

“This is an excellent offensive perimeter group that came in here. I mean, we’ve got a lot of respect for you know, what we saw in the game planning process and, you know, we were just, you know, it’s football, you know, they went after us and, you know, we went after them and at the end, we got it done in the fourth quarter. But yeah, they definitely went after the one on ones outside and hit some plays.”

On if he expected the kind of game they ended up with tonight

“We were expecting a highly competitive game. Yeah, no doubt. I think both teams have a play style, a very aggressive. play style. You know, I think that’s what was part of the challenge with the officiating. So, we fully expected it to go down that way. So, you know, they’re coming off of a tough loss, you know, so we knew they were coming in here with a ton of urgency. So, at the end of the day, this is our home field, you know, and we play extremely well here. And I’m, frankly happy to get the win. But, you know, I can’t say enough, your team has to learn, has to be in tight games. I mean, how are you going to be good at winning close games if you’re not in them? So we’ve had our share of big wins. So, this will serve us well moving forward.”

On how the stretch Dak Prescott is on compares to one of Aaron Rodgers stretches from back in Green Bay

“Well, I mean, I never like to compare quarterbacks and to be honest I’ve been so blessed to be around Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Aaron had so many excellent stretches. I’m hopeful he gets to get on to another great stretch up there in New York. But yeah, Dak’s playing great ball. It’s fun when, you know, when you’re in this rhythm, he has such great command. And it’s, you know, it’s just the connection with his teammates, you know, on the field, on the line of scrimmage. We’re getting in and out of things seamlessly. We’re playing with a really good pace. And that’s how we want to play, we want to attack and you can only do it with the with the championship caliber quarterback and Dak is that guy.”

On the penalties

“It’s definitely not a bright spot of the performance. But yeah, it’s you know, I think, like anything, you know, you just got to keep working at it and you know, the emotion, the emotional discipline in the detail of it is something we need to be better at. Just got to keep coaching it and demanding it and it’s from all of us. It’s a continuous message that you’re really always going through, even when you’re when you’re not going through the numbers that we have right now. Nobody likes it. So, we’ll just continue to work on it.”

On the 10 days off before the next game and where the team is at right now

“Yeah, they’re tired. You could see it during the week. I mean, it took them a while to get back. So, they’ll be off for the weekend. We’ll get back together Monday. We’ll do some things Monday morning and then we’ll go into a normal seven- day week.”

On how this team ended this trimester

“Fairly well, it’s been a good trimester. You know, it’s been a very good, very productive trimester. And I think most importantly, you know, we’ve been able to rack up some wins. But we’re a better football team today than we were at the beginning of the trimester. So, it’s we got more football in front of us, a lot of it but we just got to keep working, keep improving and winning these kinds of games.”

On how Dak Prescott has built up trust with Jake Ferguson

“Yeah, there’s a lot of trust there. I mean, just on that last touchdown throw. You don’t throw the ball to a guy that you don’t have a lot of reps with. I think you’re seeing that with him and pretty much most of our perimeter. And we have to have that, we can’t play the aggressive brand of football in the passing game if we don’t have that. So that’s definitely one that we’ll be able to build off of.”

On how the team coaches DaRon Bland when facing tough matchups

“Adversity is a good thing. You have to have it. You’re going to have it, you can’t avoid it - it’s the National Football. League. This will be a great experience for him. He’s wired the right way. I mean, he didn’t change. He played all the way to the last whistle there. So, this will be good experience for him.”

On CeeDee Lamb

“CeeDee’s our guy. We’re going to move him around and see how they react to him because you know, obviously you want to give him opportunities, but you know, he’s a little bit like Micah (Parsons) on the defense. CeeDee creates better opportunities for the other guys. So, it’s a blessing when you have someone like him, because to be able to play him in every position in the backfield, there’s not a position where we can’t line him up and utilize him. He’s a real weapon for us.”

On if he’s going to watch Philadelphia-San Francisco on Sunday

“I’ll watch it. Yeah definitely. We play Philadelphia. They’re the next up.”

On going into the rematch with Philadelphia

“We’re where we need to be right now. Like I said, we talked about the second trimester. I’m really just focused on our guys catching their breath here. Let’s try to get back into a normal, semi normal flow. But yeah, we’ll be ready for Philadelphia.”

QB Dak Prescot

On the importance of winning tonight’s game against the Seahawks

We talked about the records earlier in the weekend and how it’s been matched up. We know the stretch that we have coming ahead of us, and this was a big one to get. The first one with a winning record, but more importantly, in the fashion that we did in a tough game back and forth. Down at halftime and down in the fourth quarter. The guys and the team were really just making plays when plays were needed and playing ultimate complimentary football. Stopping them to get a touchdown. Defense got two fourth down stops when the game was on the line was huge. Yeah, it was complimentary football at its finest to get a big win that’s been different than most of these at home. We can take as Coach always says “a big chunk of confidence”. We can take that into next week, moving forward. The team showed resiliency, belief in one another, and belief in all three units knowing that we can get it done and just staying in it.

On the feeling of going out there and making the game-winning drive

It’s fun. It’s what you play the game for as a quarterback to have the ball in your hands. With an opportunity to go win the game, take the lead, whatever it may be. We practice those situations a lot, too. It’s credit to Mike [McCarthy], the staff, and the rest of the guys and the players of being prepared and locked in. Because we’ve had so many reps at it, it’s no different than the reps in practice. So, little reminders in the huddle about that, then just go out there and execute. It’s great for me honestly, and it’s fun. You see big time players that want to make big time plays. Ferg [Jake Ferguson] with the catch in the endzone was huge. Then, for the two-point conversion, Cooks [Brandin Cooks] coming across the middle. Once again, plays that we’ve repped, plays that we’re comfortable in, and being in that situation. A lot of guys look forward to it and step up.

On describing his current stretch of games

My expectations, honestly. I put a lot into this game. I prepare my ass off. I have amazing coaches and players around me doing the exact same. I really think that that’s the expectations that I have for myself. The standard that we’ve created as an offense and how we’re comfortable playing this game. Numbers are numbers. They are always going to be that way, but in the sense of getting to the right play and making the right reads. Trusting the ball, trusting and letting the ball go in the right windows to the receivers that I aim. That’s really what I look at. At the end of the day, it’s about the preparation and the work that I’ve put into that’s just coming into fruition.

On if it was tough to get to where the team is after the offensive changes

There were challenges, but I don’t want to say that it was necessarily tough. But at the end of the day, it’s about believing and committing to it, and that’s what I did. Not only just commit to Mike calling the plays, but the changes that were asked in the way that I play the game or for whatever it may be. Most importantly, the guys around me really committed to it. That’s the receivers and that’s them getting to their breaking points, getting to their depths, winning at the top of their routes, and consistently knowing and understanding where I expect them to be. That’s the reason why I’m playing this way is because of the guys around me. Simple as that. They’re busting their tails, the offensive line is blocking making sure that they are giving me an opportunity within the 2.3. If I scramble, keeping a body on somebody and the receivers are getting open downfield. There’s clear communication across the board. It’s about the other 10 guys and the support that we all have when we’re on the field with the coaches and the rest of the young guys.

On the benefit of winning tonight’s game

It’s a lot of confidence, that I alluded to earlier, and showing resiliency and not get down on ourselves. You love to be up and roll like we’ve been rolling on teams here at home. Even last week, it was close for majority of the game and then we blew it open. So, understanding that that wasn’t going to happen in this game that we have to make plays to give ourselves a chance to win. Guys on the sideline kept saying, “expect to win, expect to win.” When you do that, you have those expectations. You’re going to find a way to win, simple as that. Coaches did a great job of relaying that message.

Players believed it and players did a good job of saying that message over and over and we found a way to win. That’s my pint of the units believing in the other unit going to get the job done and doing what was needed to make sure that we win this game. So, it was huge.

Thoughts on Jake Ferguson’s growth in the game...

He’s a baller. His mentality is why he is the guy that he is and having the success that he is. He expects to do what he did in tonight’s game and he’s no different than me. I guarantee he can pull two or three plays off and says that he wants to get better at that. A guy that’s not satisfied, loves the game of football. Just as importantly, loves his teammates. Loves who he’s doing it with. He puts a lot into this game. We expect a lot out of him and he’s taken all responsibility of that. He’s going out there, each and every week, continuing to get better and better. That’s why I’ve had his back and continue to preach on his bright future because I see that he does week in and week out. I know the mentality that he takes is a little crazy, but you have to be that way playing his position. He’s a big time guy for us.

On confidence when throwing tough passes to CeeDee...

It is 100% the sign of the confidence. Talking about communication, I could probably let him know going into that “hey, if there’s a window, expect it.” I guarantee he wants that play back, whether I communicated that or not. In the same sense, I want it back. Hey, third and whatever, don’t necessarily that that. You know what I mean? There’s [Jalen] Tolbert out there to the far side. That was open, as well. So, understanding how aggressive Mike is, where are are, that all yards are good yards. Maybe Tolbert catches that and turns the corner and goes and gets a first down. If not, it puts us in fourth down territory to go for it. Making that throw in that situation is 100% about my trust in that guy and then him making plays and then understanding that he’s going to protect me and make that catch.

On how the defense responded to what he said before the last drive...

Yeah, so I don’t even know what I said. Probably just go win the effing game. And then they did, and they did. That’s a group that I go against each and every week. And when we talked about being in those situations and practicing those situations, it’s the ones versus the ones. That’s the thing, iron sharpens iron. That’s the deal is that they’ve beat us numerous of times and we’ve got them some times. So it’s like, I know how good y’all are. To flip the switch. Lock your focus in and go get it done. Like Micah [Parsons] go make a play. J Lew {Jourdan Lewis], J K [Jayron Kearse], Gilly [Stephon Gilmore], Bland [DaRon Bland], whoever. Go make the play. Don’t wait around, go make the play. I’ve seen you do it over and over again. I expected that I really did. I said that in the sense of, I trust y’all. We went and did our job. Now it’s your turn to return the favor. And we’ll end this thing and that’s exactly what they did. And I’m proud of that group. I mean, that’s iron sharpens iron and we are who we are because of the way that they practice and the way that they compete against us every opportunity that we get to practice.

On CeeDee’s impact on the offense when’s playing good...

Yeah, he’s a stud. I mean, we talked about getting him touches. You see right there at the end of the game, you get it to him on an around and the guy almost goes in scores and seals the game right there. He’s a big time playmaker. He expects that out of himself and so we obviously all expect that and so when he’s playing at his highest level, obviously I just talked about my confidence in him throwing it in triple coverage and putting it in some dangerous windows, but I know that the type of player that he is, I have high expectations for him and the standard that we’ve created in this offense is for him to make these plays and him to be a big time guy. And you know, what’s great about CeeDee is not only does he expect to make those catches, he wants to make that dirty block that allows the running back to get around the edge. Selfless player that is a big time player and the more that he can continue to play like that and other guys learn from that and see that and do the exact same. This group would be special.

On Aaron Rodgers comments about his performance

“I mean honestly, having similarities such as understanding the system and understanding plays, and the coaching, because he was with Mike (McCarthy) is awesome. It really is. That’s a guy that you talk about being the most talented, or the greatest player to play this position. If you ask 10 people, you are going to get at least four guys, if not more, who say his name. It was awesome, it really was. At the end of the day, it goes back to my preparation and what I put into this thing. I am as comfortable as I’ve been. As I’ve talked about before, that comes with growth and that comes with experience. It comes with all of the other guys around me preparing, playing and doing everything right throughout the week that gives me the comfortability to throw it to them and trust them. The offensive line is playing well. Everything rolls through them and allows me to feel balanced. This isn’t about me, it’s about the unit, and us continuing to strive to reach our best.”

On the psychological tole of last season

“There is no difference when they are hating me and calling for me and my position. I am super blessed, and I think about that each and every day. When I wake up, I am grateful for that opportunity to do that. I understand that no one’s opinion defines me and that is the great part about life. That’s the great opportunity that we have, that people can say whatever they want. I have the pen, I have the paper, and I am the one writing. Because I am playing as well as I am now, it doesn’t mean I am going to stop or listen to them now. I appreciate them, but I don’t care about their opinions right now anymore than I did when they were calling for my spot. As I said, I am blessed, this last year has been a reflection of that. A lot of great things have happened in my life and are going to continue to happen in my life because of my mindset and where I put the value of life.”

On his plans for the Philadelphia/San Francisco game Sunday

“I’m sure on Sunday I’ll be hanging out at the house, watching that game. I’ll use it as a little film study. When that games over, first thing Monday morning, trust me, I’ll be watching the game from the last time we played them through all the games they’ve played in the last month. I’m excited for it, I really am with the way that we are playing, our understanding of how that game went the last time and that we get to get that bunch here at home. There are a lot of things to be excited about and most importantly is us taking another step in getting to where we want to be.”

On his mindset in the weeks leading up to Philadelphia

“The focus of running our own race is why we didn’t drop a game. We just stayed focused on what we could control. We didn’t try to put our emotions in hoping that they won or lost. They pulled off some close ones, but that’s not for us to focus on or get overwhelmed about. We’ve got a lot going on and that’s what was so great about this win right here. It was in a close manner, and we were able to pull it out against a good team. We have to stay focused on running our own race and understand that we will get these guys again. This probably won’t be the last time that we get them this season. At the end of the day, it’s about continuing to strive and continuing to get better. We know that getting this win next week and continuing this home winning streak is more important than anything. But it doesn’t mean that we won’t see them again. Whether it’s here or there, it really doesn’t matter. It’s two great teams, division rivals, and to get to where we both want to go, we are probably going to have to see one another again.”

On playing three games in 12 days

“I love this game honestly, I could play another one, just give me three days and I could go again. But I’m not in the trenches. I need them to rest up so I can feel this way about the game. Mentally it’s fun, but physically it is tough to get your body back healthy from a game. It’s challenging but that’s what makes it fun. Understanding that it is a lot of games in those 12 days, but you want to make sure you win them all and thankfully we did. So now it is about getting our bodies back and healthy again this week. We can’t be satisfied or complacent with anything that we have done up to this point. We have a hell of a stretch ahead of us and we are going to take it one game at a time and that means Philadelphia here at home. We will enjoy ourselves this weekend and be safe about it. When we come in Monday, we understand that we are back on Philadelphia and that’s where the real football begins.”

TE, Jake Ferguson

On his touchdown...

That’s something we’ve been drilling in practice. But really that’s the whole offense right there. The offensive line, four [Dak Prescott] putting it in a great spot, only where I can get it. That’s the ultimate trust. Everybody trusting each other. That’s where all eleven are playing like one....

On the message of competing against the best teams in the league and come back late in games to win...

That’s the game of football. Everything’s not going to be a blowout. Everything’s not going to be a big score, little score. I think that shows this teams resilience and this teams fight on all sides of the ball. It was a great team win.

On Dak’s performance...

The dude’s slinging it. I have the ultimate confidence in him. I mean he’s making these plays and throws in practice, so it doesn’t really surprise me. That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s the kind of quarterback he is. That’s the kind of man he is and that’s someone you want to get behind. I’m good with that and he’s our leader so I’m right behind him. I tell him that every day.

On if the message is to let the pads and game talk after motioning for a first down and the defenders getting in his face...

Just letting them know I got the first down. You can talk all you want. It was great team effort right there. I know that my guys were pulling me back so that’s always good.

On the offense helping the defense tonight...

That’s complimentary football. They picked us up when we were down earlier in the season and we weren’t scoring as much as we wanted, they were picking up the slack. I think when you have that sort of complementary football that’s when you become a really good team. Like I said, all three phases of football were working together.

On his pride in getting yards after contact...

It’s big. I always say that if the balls in my hand, it’s an opportunity and you want to make the best out of that opportunity. You can’t discredit the receivers and the running backs and even the o-line. I can feel them when they’re blocking in front of me, it makes it that much easier for me.

RB Tony Pollard

On being down 35-27 with 14 minutes to go...

We didn’t blink. We know what we can do on offense when everything is clicking and we’re going the way we’re supposed to be going. We knew we could go down there and get points. That’s what we did. We locked in and handled business.

On how important it was for the team’s confidence to beat a good team over .500...

It was big for us. Especially these types of games where you have these battles. These tough games where the lead goes back andforth, those are the games that are good for the momentum and confidence of the team.

On the importance to have a close game like this...

Yeah, like I said earlier, this game was big for us. Those battle-type games, those battle-tested games that you’ll need to have and have under your belt later on in the season. We did a good job coming out with a win today.

On what tonight’s win taught him about the team...

There’s no quit in none of the guys on the team. Offense, defense, special teams. We went down and guys didn’t blink. We stuck with everything, with our gameplan and we came out with the win.

On the difference personally the last few weeks...

Just getting in a rhythm, getting in the flow. Being out there with the same group of guys throughout the season. Figuring out how guys play, how guys block things differently.

On being able to find success on offense...

It’s big for the offense. This season, for the most part, we’ve been relying on the defense to come up big for us. And we’ve got points here and there but this was a big game for the offense that we needed.

On how Dak has been playing...

Honestly, I’m not surprised. The way that he prepares. The way he takes the game serious and everything he does. The preparation week in and week out, this type of success is something you expect from a guy like him.

WR CeeDee Lamb

On how tough of a fight Seattle put up...

Absolutely. A very resilient group. Obviously, we started out good. It started working in their favor and then at the end we had to battle it out.

On Dak Prescott’s performance...

There’s no surprise from me. He’s worked really hard. He’s a very resilient man. All of the things that he’s getting in the future, I’m excited for him and can’t wait to see it.

On his touchdown...

We got the look we wanted. Dak put the ball in the perfect position where the DB couldn’t get it and all I had to do was run a route.

On if they needed reps in a close game against a potential playoff team...

Absolutely. These types of games are the games that you want to be on the winning side of course. It shows all the work that we put in, week in and week out and continuing to battle each other and ultimately come out with victories.

On what it felt like to be able to pick the defense up on a down night for them...

We just have to have their back. That’s all about playing complementary football and when one’s down the other has to pick up. Obviously at the beginning of the season, they were doing the same for us. So we’ve got their back, we let them know.

On Jake Ferguson’s progression....

He’s a warrior man. He’s taken a lot of shots obviously this game included, he’s done a lot of dirty work as far as blocking the end, blocking linebackers and then going out and running routes. I tip my hat out to him, they do a lot of dirty work for us and continue to help each other.

On the statement made with his performance tonight...

It was just a great game. I don’t think it really sends a message to anybody. Obviously, we’re trying to prove it to ourselves first. It’s not so much of telling everybody or proving it to anybody. We have to prove it to ourselves first. Continuing to battle. Continuing to grow.

On if it was as physical of defense the Cowboys have played against since San Francisco...

Most definitely. It was a game that we needed and we’re looking forward to next week.

On looking forward to the next game against the Eagles...

It’s going to be a great game. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see them here at home.

On how the team has made a home field advantage...

We trust in our fans. We trust in the environment and obviously we don’t want to let them down. Protecting our house, protecting our culture and continuing to fight.

Defensive End, Micah Parsons

On the offense picking up the defense on a night in which you were struggling...

You know that’s great, but I feel like it’s been complimentary all year. Outside of the San Fran game, Dak’s been having one of the greatest seasons I’ve seen since I’ve been here. It’s truly amazing to see the growth and where he’s at. I think right now he’s playing at the highest level in the NFL. Just from my standpoint and what I’m seeing; he’s staying in the pocket, breaking sacks, making the right reads, he’s just playing terrific.

On being surprised how quick you got to Geno on the last play...

Yeah for sure. I feel like I was getting there pretty fast all game. Geno was doing a great job; he was getting the ball out fast. And that’s not something he had on film, where he was just quick game all game. And when they did throw it deep it was max protection and things like that. It was definitely some unchartered looks that I hadn’t seen on film. It’s definitely something to look at again.

Was there a bust on the protection there?

I don’t know. Maybe, you know.

It doesn’t seem like a good strategy to leave you unblocked...

I think they left the back on me. I mean that’s not a good strategy either. You know, but no, that’s cool though.

Cornerback DaRon Bland

On having a first half the way it was going and how you responded in the second half with an interception....

No, it ain’t nothing special. (I) Didn’t have a great first half, you know. Just tried to make it up in the second half. That’s all it was.

On making the plays when it mattered the most down the stretch...

You know, when we stick together we can do amazing things, you know. Like we showed in the second half. We stuck together and made the plays.

On what you saw on the interception...

The same thing I always see. The quarterback, seeing that he was running quick games, so I saw the receiver and once he ran his route I was there.

How does a game like this help this football team, to be able to win a game like this?

It just reminds you nothing is easy in this league. We needed a game like this to keep us prepared for the long run after this.

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore

On all the points that were scored and how the offense played complimentary football to help the defense...

It was great. As a defense we didn’t play to our abilities. But we made some big stops at the end. Offense, they played great. You know that’s what it takes. They’re a good football team, and that’s what it’s going to take to win these tough games.

On how it prepares you next week for the Philadelphia Eagles...

It’s great. It was a great win. Like I said, it isn’t always going to be pretty. Sometimes it’s going to come down to the wire like that. I think we’ll be ready next week.

Defensive Tackle Osa Odighizuwa

On how you were able to weather the storm tonight...

I mean, it’s not pretty. But you know, we can’t turn on each other. No one did. We just stayed calm through the situation and kept playing.