In Saturday’s 24-22 Wild Card victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Dak Prescott helped deliver just the third playoff victory for the Dallas Cowboys since Super Bowl XXX in January of 1996. It wasn’t a perfect outing but as Prescott has done so many times throughout his career, he found a way to get the job done and help Dallas advance in the process.
Since 2016, Dak leads the NFL in 4th quarter comebacks with 14. While he is of course aided by the presence of Ezekiel Elliott, as well as a top 5 defense this season, it all boils down to whether or not you as a quarterback can win a game when it really counts, something Dak Prescott has proven himself more than capable of doing.
On a night when Russell Wilson, an unquestioned elite quarterback with a Super Bowl title already to his name stood on the opposite sideline, Dak refused to blink. Sure, Wilson made the flashier plays, connecting several times with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett along the sideline for big gains, but the two quarterbacks’ stat lines were almost identical in the end.
|18/27||233 Yards (8.6 avg)||1 TD||0 INT||105.9 QBR|
|22/33||226 Yards (6.8 avg)||1 TD||1 INT||83.6 QBR|
While the yards per attempt and overall QBR discrepancy might suggest Wilson comfortably outplayed Prescott, it’s worth noting that 75 of those passing yards, not to mention his lone TD toss, came on the final drive with the Seahawks trailing by 10. If you strip that away, he passed for a meager 158 yards and zero touchdowns. Prescott, despite having the game’s lone turnover on a phenomenal KJ Wright interception in the endzone deserves a little bit of slack considering that, while the pass was indeed a bit behind Noah Brown, Wright clearly arrived before the ball and was allowed to get away with pass interference before completing the impressive interception. Without that pick, Dak’s QBR is over 96.
Equally noteworthy is that each QB rushed for a touchdown in the contest, something that is not factored into the QBR score. With this added to consideration, Wilson chipped in another 14 yards on 3 carries and a score while Prescott managed 29 yards on 6 carries and a touchdown of his own.
While this may sound like typical spin, it’s really not that difficult to say that Prescott played almost as well, if not just as well as Russell Wilson on a playoff stage. That alone deserves credit, even if he accomplished the feat in a relatively ordinary fashion when compared with Wilson’s dimes. The fact remains the same that when the game was on the line, Prescott delivered yet again.
Dak’s 16-yard run on 3rd and 14 to get inside the Seattle 1 was not only the play of the game but perhaps the play of the season to date. Running a quarterback draw in that situation was a cautious call by the coaching staff but one Prescott would make work brilliantly. Running through Bobby Wagoner, as well as two or three other Seahawks with 5 yards to spare before the first down, Dak went airborne, helicoptering almost completely into the end zone before fully driving the dagger into Seattle’s heart on a QB sneak on the subsequent snap. Seattle would score again, of course, but without a healthy kicker, they stood no chance of recovering the necessary on-side kick to keep their hopes alive.
Dallas entered the 4th quarter trailing 17-14 Saturday night. While Ezekiel Elliott had been dominating the game on the ground until that point, it was Dak Prescott who would ultimately deliver the final blow. In the final frame, Dak would elevate his level of play, connecting with Amari Cooper for 60 of Cooper’s 106 total yards. As if the three preceding quarters had been little more than a classic rope-a-dope strategy, he and the Cowboys would spring to life and score 10 unanswered points, only falling short of another score when they effectively stopped themselves. Such is the case with Prescott at quarterback: not always pretty but more often than not victorious.
This coming offseason, Prescott is expected to sign an extension with Dallas, though how much he’ll earn remains unclear. Although many continue to question whether or not he can be a true franchise quarterback, his accolades thus far are irrefutable.
And now, after Saturday, one playoff victory
In his two career playoff starts, Prescott has completed 46 of 71 passes (64.7%) for 528 yards (264/game), and 4 touchdowns against 2 interceptions. He’s added another 8 carries for 42 yards and a score on the ground. He’s not your traditional pocket passer, but we’ve known that. All that matters is that he’s proven he can handle the pressure and win when the game is on the line. Everything else is just noise.
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