Entering the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys knew they had an elite running back in All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and a top-notch receiver in Amari Cooper. The question was, could Dak Prescott continuously play at the level of his two biggest weapons.
Now, we are 10 games into the season and one thing is for sure, the Cowboys now know they have an elite quarterback as well. At this point, no one should have any doubt about the capabilities of Prescott or what he brings to the table. From the moment this season kicked off he’s been lights out and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
What can be better than beating a division rival to start the season? That’s simple, doing it the way Prescott did vs the New York Giants in Week 1. He completed 25 of 32 passes for 405 yards (opening game franchise record) and four touchdowns, including a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The biggest takeaway I had from this performance by Prescott was his ability to spread the ball around. Two of his receivers (Cooper, Gallup) had over 100 yards and four different players scored touchdowns. A truly masterful showing by number 4.
Week 2 vs the Washington Redskins you can argue was an even better performance than the previous week. Once again, he showed just how far he’s come as far as chemistry with his weapons, completing passes to eight different receivers. In total, he went 26 of 30 for 269 yards and three touchdowns. He ended the game completing his last 18 consecutive passes (tied own personal record) which included a perfect 14 of 14 in the second half.
The Miami Dolphins hung tough and only trailed 10-6 at halftime in Week 3. However, the Cowboys dominated the second half 21-0 and cruised to an easy 25 point victory. Prescott didn’t blow up the stat sheet in this game like the previous two weeks going only 19 of 32 for 246 yards and two touchdowns, but with Elliott and Tony Pollard going over 100 yards rushing he didn’t have to. This performance put him at 920 yards and nine touchdowns in the Cowboys first three games, the best start of Prescott’s career.
Of course in the NFL, every game can’t be sunshine and rainbows. When the Cowboys visited the New Orleans Saints in Week 4 Prescott had arguably his most pedestrian performance of the year. Although he completed 22 of 33 passes he only managed 223 yards and no touchdowns in a tough two-point loss.
When the Green Bay Packers came to town in Week 5 Prescott would have in my opinion his worst game the year. In the first three possessions of the game, Prescott threw two interceptions (both lead to Packers touchdowns) and the Cowboys would never recover. He finished a career-high 463 yards (329 in the second half) but his three interceptions lead to 17 points for the Packers. Definitely not an ideal outing in this one for Prescott even though the final numbers look great.
Surely a matchup with the then winless New York Jets at Metlife Stadium would be smooth sailing, well not exactly in this case. He completed 28 of 40 passes for 278 yards but for the second time in three weeks he failed to throw a single touchdown pass and the Cowboys suffered their third consecutive loss.
The Cowboys were in desperate need of a win before the bye week when the arch-rival Philadelphia Eagles rolled into AT&T Stadium a month ago. Turnovers by the Eagles on their first two possessions led to touchdowns by Tavon Austin and Elliott, and the Cowboys never looked back. Prescott was efficient going 21-27 for 239 yards and a touchdown. Solid performance in a blowout 37-10 victory.
In Week 10 the Cowboys were looking to remain undefeated in division play vs the Giants. Elliott would establish the tone in this contest as he ran for 139 yards on 23 carries. Not to be outdone, Prescott went 22 of 35 for 257 yards and three touchdowns. This was his third game with three or more touchdown passes for the season.
Last Sunday vs the Minnesota Vikings was without question the most fascinating and frustrating game when evaluating Prescott this season. He got 100-yard games out of Cooper and Randall Cobb en route to 397 yards and three touchdowns. However, the head-scratching part about this game was when Prescott had the Cowboys deep in Vikings territory on a potential game-winning drive the ball was taken out of his hands and given to Elliott on second and third down even though he only had 50 yards on 18 carries before that. Terrible play-calling didn’t allow Dak to be the hero and it was a shame with how well he performed.
Lastly, the Cowboys went on the road to Detroit yesterday to play the Lions, who came into this game with the NFL’s 30 ranked defense, 28th vs the pass, and Prescott took full advantage. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers, including his two biggest beneficiaries Gallup and Cobb who both went over 100 yards. Prescott finished with 444 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Cowboys to their third victory in their last four games.
This performance saw Prescott enter the Cowboys record books in a few categories. He became the first quarterback in franchise history to pass for over 3,000 yards in the first 10 games of a season. Also, his 1,098 yards since Week 9 is the most in a three-game span in franchise history.
Prescott is currently first in the NFL in passing yards, second in passing touchdowns and first in QBR. Want further evidence of how elite Prescott’s play has been? In his last 16 games (going back to Week 12 last season), Prescott has been as good as any quarterback in the league. He has completed 69.3% of his passes for 4,968 yards and 37 total touchdowns (32 passing, 5 rushing). Those numbers rank him third in passing touchdowns and first in passing yards over that span. More importantly, the Cowboys have an 11-5 record since this hot streak began.
The questions and doubts about Prescott’s ability have been put to bed in 2019. If the Cowboys record was 8-2 or 9-1 as opposed to 6-4 he would more than likely be the MVP front runner. One thing is for sure, Prescott isn’t just a good quarterback, he’s showing that he’s elite.