NFL

Quinn hails Prescott leadership after the Cowboys beat the Saints

By Sports Desk December 03, 2021

Stand-in head coach Dan Quinn was delighted with the effort of the Dallas Cowboys as they ended their run of back-to-back defeats with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The former Atlanta Falcons head coach is now defensive coordinator at the Cowboys, but was asked to fill in for head coach Mike McCarthy after he was forced to stay at home due to COVID-19.

The victory at the Caesers Superdome follows a Week 11 defeat at the Kansas City Chiefs and an overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders last time out. 

The Cowboys now move to 8-4, comfortably ahead of the Washington Football Team (5-6) at the top of the NFC East.

"Make no mistake, we were not pleased with our last performance [against the Raiders]," Quinn told reporters after the game. "So we needed to make sure we came back and played like we were capable of and it was cool to see the guys fight and battle for it.

"We knew going in tonight was going to be a fight, and this was going to be a battle, and it certainly was.

"We were coming in ready to make sure we were ready to get it on with physicality and aggression, if it took all night or longer into overtime, we were ready to go however long it took."

Quinn praised the leadership within the team, making particular mention of quarterback Dak Prescott, who completed 26 of 40 attempts for 237 yards, including a touchdown pass to Malcolm Gallup in the opening quarter.

"We've got some excellent leaders. If you guys could hear the way Dak talks before the game to the team, it's one of the most impressive things that I've been a part of. The commitment, the leadership, these guys battling for one another, you can tell they've got a unique brotherhood that ties them together."

McCarthy watched from home, but told ESPN via phone following the win: "It was rough, I'm not going to lie. I'm proud of the guys and how it all turned out, but I don't ever want to do this again.

"Adversity win, ugly win, however, you want to define it, you have to have these wins, especially when you get to later in the year when you're playing teams that are trying to get in the playoffs or make a run.

"This is a great experience for us. Let's face it, this is today's NFL. You've got to be able to win with change."

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  • Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure Watt: Cardinals' playoff defeat to Rams a massive failure

    J.J. Watt reflected on the Arizona Cardinals' 34-11 playoff defeat to the Los Angeles Rams as "a massive failure".

    The Cardinals ended their season with a whimper at SoFi Stadium on Monday as the Rams dominated the Wild Card round clash between the NFC West rivals.

    Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford ended his wait for a first playoff win, throwing touchdown passes for Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp while running in another.

    Los Angeles will face defending champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida next Sunday in the divisional round. 

    The Cardinals, on the other hand, are left to lick their wounds following a fifth defeat in seven games that brought their campaign to a juddering halt.

    Watt returned from a shoulder injury to face the Rams and the defensive end pulled no punches with his verdict on the Cardinals' performance.

    He said: "It was a massive failure from what we were capable of doing and from what we showed we can do [up until the game Monday], there's no other way to describe it than as a failure.

    Quarterback Kyler Murray endured a game to forget, passing for 137 yards and throwing two interceptions in the Cardinals' first playoff game since 2015.

    He said: "I play to win the Super Bowl. That's the goal, that's the mission, is to win the Super Bowl not to make the playoffs or go to the second round. We fell short."

    He added: "It's disappointing that we didn't make it a game and come out and play the football we know we're capable of playing, that's really the most disappointing part.

    "Losing is one thing, but when you don't even make it competitive, it's another thing.

    "I put a lot on my shoulders, put a lot on myself and to dream of this moment and then be in the playoffs, the first game of the playoffs and then to play the way I did, to play the way we did, it's, like I said, disappointing."

    Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury: "When you're dropping back against that that group, it's not a good recipe.

    "And that's what we've found ourselves in. So, we just made it a tough night."

  • 'We wouldn't be here without him' – McVay hails Stafford after QB ends wait for playoff win 'We wouldn't be here without him' – McVay hails Stafford after QB ends wait for playoff win

    Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is thrilled that quarterback Matthew Stafford will no longer have to face questions about never winning a game in the NFL playoffs.

    NFC West rivals the Arizona Cardinals were convincingly swatted aside by the Rams in the Wild Card round on Monday, the hosts triumphing 34-11.

    The Rams will now move on to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a huge Divisional Round game with a place in the NFC Championship up for grabs.

    Stafford had only previously reached the playoffs three times in 12 years with the Detroit Lions before his trade to LA ahead of the 2021 campaign and had been winless in each of those postseason appearances.

    "I thought he did a great job leading the way," McVay said, per ESPN, after Stafford threw touchdown passes to Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp.

    "He's still the same great player to me, and he always was before this game.

    "So I think it's good so you guys don't have to talk about [him not having a playoff win] anymore. So he can get that one out of the way. 

    "I am really proud of him. Just so lucky to be able to do this with him. He's our leader. We wouldn't be here without him."

    Stafford only had to throw a season-low 17 pass attempts, but he was impressive in completing 13 of them, with three of his four incompletions being dropped passes.

    The Rams' defense played a big part in the win too. The Cardinals were 21-0 behind before they were even able to record a first down, while cornerback David Long had a three-yard pick six on Kyler Murray, the shortest in playoff history.

    "I'm just excited for our team to get the win," said Stafford. 

    "What a team effort. Our defense played outstanding, special teams basically set up a score with [punter] Johnny [Hekker] pinning them down there, we did a great job on field goals. 

    "And we were good enough on offense to score some points and come away with the win. Just happy to be moving on."

    The Rams must now beat the defending NFL champions on the road to progress further in a postseason schedule which will culminate with the Super Bowl being hosted at their own SoFi Stadium.

    LA were one of only three teams who beat the Bucs in the regular season but Stafford is under no illusions over the size of the task facing them.

    He added: "It is a huge challenge. Obviously, a fantastic quarterback, great defense, a really good football team.

    "I think their team is different than when we played them last [in Week 3], and I think we are, too, both [in] personnel and scheme a little bit. You always evolve throughout the season. 

    "So it'll be interesting to see what they look like here as of late, and we'll go out there, attack and see what happens."

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