In their season finale, the Dallas Cowboys were focused on gaining momentum heading into the NFL playoffs after a lackluster performance in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. They did just that by annihilating the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 which took them to 12-5 on the season and completed a sweep of the NFC East for Dallas.
The star of the game was Quarterback Dak Prescott who threw five touchdown passes (four in the first half) which gave him 37 on the season and established a new franchise record by surpassing Tony Romo's 36 in 2007.
Prescott ended the 2021 season with 12 touchdowns without an interception in the final three games and looked more like the player he was earlier in the year. However, putting up gaudy isn't what matters to Prescott, winning in the postseason is.
“The stats and all that, the way we finished was great. It's what we wanted to do, build momentum, get in a rhythm – but none of that matters anymore,” Prescott said. “You get into this tournament, and it's one game at a time. It's must-win. So that's the focus.”
The Cowboys won five of their last six games after losing three out of four during a rocky month of November. Not only has the Cowboys' offense got back in sync, but their defense forced 15 turnovers in the final six games.
It was a great way to end the regular season for the Cowboys, but Prescott realizes that's irrelevant now that the playoffs are set to begin.
“You've got to turn the page,” Prescott said. “You can't hang your hat on the regular season or 12 wins or winning the division, because none of it matters.”
Prescott has performed well in his postseason career. He's completed 64% of his passes with a quarterback rating of 95.7 and produced seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) in three games. The highlight of Prescott's playoff performances came in his rookie season in 2016 when he went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers by throwing for 302 yards and three touchdowns and erased a 21-3 deficit.
Unfortunately for the former Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Cowboys lost 34-31 and they have played in just two playoff games since going 1-1. A losing record in the playoffs isn't what any quarterback wants to have on his resume. For Prescott, this postseason is about leaving no doubt that he can take a team deep into the playoffs and that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
The Cowboys possess the NFL's top-ranked offense in terms of yards and points per game and a defense that was the best on third down and led the league in turnovers. However, it all starts with Prescott, and the Cowboys will only go as far as he takes them.
After signing a four-year, $160 million extension in the offseason, Prescott has his financial security. When you're the quarterback for the Cowboys, how many dollars you make doesn't though, it's about winning Super Bowls like Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman did in the 70s and 90s.
It's go time, and Prescott is focused on putting his name alongside the great Cowboys signal callers of the past.