The Dallas Cowboys are now in first place in the NFC East with a commanding two-game lead in the division over the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. Having swept the Philadelphia Eagles this season, the Cowboys own the tie-breaker over the Eagles which essentially gives them a three-game lead with three games to go. Though it was a rough start to the game for Dak Prescott and the offense, they finished strong, and Dak in particular made some clutch throws in the second half and overtime to help the Cowboys come away with the win.
Before, I start, I recognize that Dak Prescott missed several throws down the field and his interceptions were egregious. His first one was a decent throw, but he was staring Cooper down through the route allowing Rasul Douglas to undercut the throw. The second interception was a bad overthrow of a wide open Michael Gallup on a crossing route that would have led to a huge first down.
The Philadelphia Eagles were able to score nine points from Dak’s three turnovers (including the fumble), that kept them in the game in the first half when the Cowboys could have really run away with it. Sure he missed some throws deep in the second half, but quarterbacks aren’t going to hit every throw when they’re going deep. Obviously, this is an area that Dak can improve on.
But let’s be real, Dak Prescott is a part of the reason they won this game. His connection with Amari Cooper in the second half was huge.
In the win, Prescott threw for 455 yards on 42/54 passing, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. He averaged 8.42 yards per attempt and finished with a quarterback rating of 104.9. the 455 yards are more than a hundred more than his previous career high he set last December against the New York Giants. Per Pro Football Focus, Prescott was 3 of 8 for 130 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a quarterback rating of 84.5 on deep passing attempts. 14.8% of his attempts traveled further than 20 yards down field yesterday, which is up from the previous 12 game average of 9.9% deep attempts.
Again, Dak Prescott was under pressure a lot in this game. Though he only took three sacks against the Eagles, he was under pressure for 36.8% of his drop backs, per Pro Football Focus. Under pressure, Dak Prescott was 16 of 18 (one throw away) for 196 yards, 2 touchdowns, and had a Quarterback rating of 149.1.
He wasn’t the only reason that the Cowboys won yesterday, but he was a big reason they were able to sweep the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Prescott obviously has a ton of confidence in Amari Cooper down the field, as well as Michael Gallup, because he’s taking a lot of shots downfield and continually threatening the defense and it paid off on Sunday as they were able to hit some big plays that softened up the coverage underneath for the tight ends to have their best day as a group.
For all Prescott’s mistakes, he was able to make the plays when they needed him to give the Dallas Cowboys a chance to win the football game, and make no mistake about it, that was a team win.
Dak Prescott’s greatest attributes are the things you can’t measure and each of them were on display on Sunday. His toughness, resiliency, leadership, and poise were important factors in the win. When other quarterbacks might have just tried to check the ball down after throwing a couple of interceptions, Prescott continued to let the ball fly. Though he missed on five of his deep attempts per Pro Football Focus, the ones he hit won the game for the Cowboys.
On the game-winning drive for the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott completed all five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. He completed a pass to Cooper on third and nine to extend the drive and then hit cooper again on third and seven to win the game. That final drive took up eight of the 10 minutes allotted for overtime.
Dak Prescott isn’t a great quarterback by any stretch (yet), but there are few great quarterbacks in the National Football League. Prescott is, however, a good to very good quarterback that is going to give you a chance to win football games every week. Dak’s led 13 game-winning drives in his 45 game career, finishing in the top five of that category each of his first three seasons. What we saw on display on Sunday was a quarterback who you can count on when the game is on the line.