Don’t praise Dak for the Cowboys come-from-behind victory
The Dallas Cowboys came back from a ten-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles 29-23 in OT on Sunday night. The win gives the 6-1 Cowboys a two-game cushion sitting atop the NFC East.
Teams that want to be contenders have to find ways to win, even when it’s ugly; even when all momentum seems to be going against them; even when they’re behind.
The Cowboys again proved they are contenders.
But this win was in spite of rookie quarterback sensation Dak Prescott. Yes, he did throw the game-tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter AND the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime–but if you look at his game as a whole, he struggled mightily.
Prescott was 19-for-39 for 287 yards and 2 passing scores, adding 39 yards on the ground and an additional score.
Looking at those numbers, one might assume Dak had a great game, three total touchdown’s and 300+ total yards. But that just isn’t an accurate assessment.
Dak struggled all game finding his receivers. He completed under 50% of his throws, ending with a 48.9% completion percentage. The Cowboys do not stretch the field in the passing game with Prescott–like they would with Tony Romo.
Prescott’s accuracy-issues were prevalent from the start, missing open receivers short, or zipping the ball over receivers heads constantly. I knew heading into the game and even the season Prescott cannot accurately throw the deep ball and it will eventually come back to bite the Cowboys.
The rookie QB did have one great deep pass, connecting with Dez Bryant on a 53-yard reception, but Dez beat his man off the snap and picked up half of those yards after the catch.
Eventually NFL teams and defensive coordinators are going to figure out what it takes to beat Dak and the Cowboys. Eagles DC Jim Schwartz had the game-plan to do that, and it all starts with pressure. Dak was hurried, knocked down and looked confused all game, causing him to struggle with accuracy and decision-making. This game will be a blueprint to other defense’s on how to stop Prescott.
This has been one of the positive traits surrounding Dak to start the season. He has not made the “dumb” pass or play to hurt the Cowboys. He broke Tom Brady’s record for most passes to start a career without throwing an interception. That streak ended last week against Green Bay and continued against the Eagles. Dak only threw one interception–but it came in the end zone when Dallas was about to score, and there could have been at least three more, including another one in the end zone where Prescott just tossed the ball up for grabs.
If he continues to play reckless like he did against Philly, turnovers will be more common in Big D.
The Dallas defense came up huge in order to come away with the victory. The unit had its struggles at times, but when it was all said and done, they held the Eagles to only 291 total yards and the 23 points. One of the fewest yardage-games the Eagles have had all season. They also came up with a big fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter to completely swing momentum.
The reason the offense succeeded and eventually won was because of the Cowboys rushing attack–specifically Ezekiel Elliott.
In fact, some of the Cowboys struggles in the middle portions of the game came when they seemingly went away from the rookie running back. He produced 40 yards on just six carries and hauled in two passes for 35 more in the first quarter alone, but then over the next two quarters he carried the ball just seven times combined for 24 yards with only one catch for 7 yards.
In overtime, he carried the ball five times, which included a big 12-yard gain down to the Philadelphia 14-yard line. He finished just short of the century mark, totaling 96 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Jerry Jones has already come out and declared Prescott the starter for Week 9 in Cleveland. I will be in attendance at that game, and will get an up-close look at the Cowboys “future”. Personally, if the Cowboys want to make a deep playoff run this season they will need Tony Romo to be under center. With Romo, the Cowboys won’t have to limit the playbook like they do with Dak, and can begin to stretch the field vertically in the passing game. Only time and the health of Romo will tell when that may happen.
Dan Schalk is the Founder of MyFantasySportsTalk, you can follow him on Twitter @FFSportsTalk