Dak Prescott’s performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed he’s the right quarterback for the job, and it should silence his critics…for now.
The Dallas Cowboys and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott scored only 17 points in their Week 13 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Then the Cowboys saw their 11-game winning streak snapped in Week 14 and all of a sudden, gasp, Prescott stinks and Tony Romo can’t get in the game soon enough!
Jerry Jones makes some strange comments, the media goes wild, and just like that, the sky is falling in Dallas! It’s pandemonium! Wait, what?
After a two-week stretch in which the Cowboys played two of the NFC’s best defenses on the road, the amount of absurd panic surrounding the team was incredible. If you didn’t know any better, you would have thought that the Cowboys were in last place in the division and that they were considering relocating to Las Vegas.
However silly the circus got in Dallas the past week, it was imperative that Dak Prescott went out and performed well on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—not only that he needed it, but also that the fans needed it. There is already a ton of pressure that comes with being the starting quarterback on the Dallas Cowboys, not to mention the added pressure that comes with having a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback backing you up.
Despite the noise, Prescott’s performance Sunday night ensured all that he is the right guy to lead the Cowboys into the playoffs. His play against the Buccaneers was excellent (and historic). Prescott completed 32 of 36 passes, for a completion percentage of 88.9. That ranks as the second-highest in franchise history (behind Tony Romo’s 90 percent in 2014 against the Indianapolis Colts). Prescott’s accuracy was off the charts and, while Ezekiel Elliott ran for 159 yards, it was Prescott who made some big plays down the stretch to seal the victory.
All of the talk about benching Prescott was silly. Sure, Prescott had an off-night in the 10-7 loss to the New York Giants in Week 14 (17-of-37, 165 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions), but all quarterbacks have tough games from time to time. Prescott’s season numbers (3,418 yards, 67.7 percent completion rate, 20 touchdowns, four interceptions) are off the charts. Moreover, his strong play is obviously a big reason why the Cowboys are closing-in on the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Prescott has greatly exceeded expectations, and as a rookie, everyone is waiting for him to hit that rookie wall. Almost all rookies experience a week or two-week long stretch where things just don’t click. But for Prescott, that has yet to happen. Maybe you could consider his Week 14 performance a rookie wall, but if that’s all it is (or was), the Cowboys would gladly sign up for that 100 times over.
Benching Dak Prescott for Tony Romo would make for a good story. However, if you’re the Cowboys, why would you even consider doing that? Romo hasn’t taken a snap all season long; Prescott has taken all of them. The Cowboys should roll with Prescott and see what happens.
Historically, rookie quarterbacks in the playoffs haven’t done very well. That said, Prescott isn’t like most rookies. He’s poised, confident, and most importantly, talented. Prescott’s performance against the Bucs silenced his critics for now, but you can be sure if he stumbles even a little bit, the noise will return. It’s up to Prescott to prevent that from happening. The ball’s in his court; let’s see what he does with it.