Oops, Dak did it again. He played with your heart, and Dallas lost the game. Shocker.
Like a lousy rendition of Britney Spears stuck in your head on repeat, so is life for fans of Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Another lackluster performance against a team the Cowboys should beat in their sleep results in a 40-34 overtime loss to Jacksonville. Quite frankly, something needs to be said aloud, and it will hurt when you hear it. Dak is not the quarterback to get the Cowboys over the hump. He never has been and never will be.
It’s not only the loss to Jacksonville on Sunday, but the overall package of Prescott. He’s like a streaky shooter in the NBA. When the former fourth-round pick is on, it looks great, and he fools you into thinking he’s a top-10 QB. But it can look downright pitiful when he doesn’t have it going. Since Week 10, Prescott has been like a rollercoaster the way he’s played. In that six-game span, he’s thrown at least one interception in five games. And he’s thrown two picks in four of the six.
Maybe it’s the thumb injury still lingering, or it could be terrible decision-making. Either way, this is what has come to be expected of Dak and the Cowboys. They’ll build your hopes up, and at the worst possible moment, they’ll crumble, and it all comes falling down. That’s exactly what’s happening, but no one wants to admit it because this is “America’s Team.”
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One of the best recent examples of this in a big game situation happened less than a year ago during the NFC Wildcard game in Dallas against San Francisco. With 14 seconds left in regulation, down by six points with no timeouts, Prescott ran a QB draw up the middle of the field. If you’re down by three or fewer, this might be a good decision, but with no timeouts, it’s still a considerable risk. Of course, the time ran out before they could get to the line to spike the ball.
Awareness is a major attribute for QBs; sometimes Prescott’s seems nonexistent. Even looking at the play against the Jaguars, the pass to Noah Brown that subsequently wound up in a game-winning pick-six for the Jags wasn’t a great throw. Dallas ran a rub-route play designed to get Brown open by running his defender into another Cowboys wide receiver, but it looked like Prescott placed the pass on Brown’s back hip instead out in front, making for an easier reception.
You can argue Brown should catch that regardless, and that’s true, but sometimes the decision not to make the pass is alright. A better play call could have worked, which isn’t Prescott’s fault, but at this point, he should know when to audible out of plays, and that was a time he should’ve. Looking at the play, it seemed like Prescott was going to Brown, no matter the coverage or circumstance.
The bottom line is Prescott doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor. Seven years in, and he is who he is, and Dallas is stuck with this huge contract and a divisional-round playoff ceiling. It’s rare for an NFL QB to turn things around so drastically from being above average to suddenly jumping up to the top of the league and becoming an MVP-caliber player. Rich Gannon did it during his time between Kansas City and Oakland in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Besides that, it hasn’t happened much.
Dak is one of those players who will play well and even great at times, but ultimately when all the chips are pushed to the middle of the table and everything is on the line, he’ll let you down. That’s the story of the Cowboys for nearly three decades. Close but no cigar.