This is going to be a very short report, recorded only because we can now close the books on the first regular season numbers for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. With Dallas’ playoff position locked up, Jason Garrett decided to hold out lots of guys this week in Philadelphia, so Dak only saw action for the first two series of the game, and Zeke never saw the field.
Overall, Dak was four for eight passing, for 37 yards, no touchdowns, and one nine-yard scramble. His passer rating was 63. Ezekiel Elliott had no stats on the day. He was within easy sight of passing George Rogers to finish second in rushing among rookies all time, but must be content with leading the NFL for the season. Obviously the Cowboys have much more important goals to reach for the year.
The Cowboys still might have won had Mark Sanchez been even remotely competent, but he threw two interceptions, leading to one Philadelphia touchdown, and missed a wide open Lance Dunbar that would have given Dallas first and goal inside the five, and Dallas had to settle for a field goal. He also took a ridiculous 19-yard sack late in the fourth quarter to the Dallas two yard line that forced Chris Jones to punt from the end zone without his proper drop. The ball was blocked and led to Philadelphia’s last touchdown. Jason Garrett helped Philly at the end by calling two Dallas timeouts when Philly might have let the clock run out. Dallas 13, Philadelphia 27.
In the “what did we learn” category, the Cowboys likely realized that Mark Sanchez is not worth keeping as a backup quarterback next season, and Tony Romo should still be very appealing to a lot of teams.
Dak’s stats from his first regular season.
(Note: The key stats here are Adjusted Net Yards per attempt, which demonstrates how well a QB gets the ball down the field and into the end zone. Completion percentage tends to show accuracy. Attempts shows the run/pass balance, with fewer attempts for QBs often the goal. Turnovers, or the lack of them, are also critical.)
Not much to report on here. Dak led two drives, missing Zeke in the backfield, and with Tyron Smith and Ron Leary replaced on the left side of the line by Emmett Cleary and Joe Looney. The first drive gained a first down, but then Darren McFadden was dropped for a four-yard loss on first down, and two incompletions led to a punt. On the second drive, Dak started with a nine-yard scramble, then it was Alfred Morris for four yards, Terrance Williams for 15, Morris for nine, and Morris for two. An illegal formation call made it first and 15, followed by an incomplete pass, 10-yard pass to Jason Witten, and then an incomplete pass to Dez Bryant. Dan Bailey finished the drive with a field goal.
On the next drive, Tony Romo came in and led Dallas to it’s only touchdown on the game. You can follow the details of his series here. That was it for Romo’s day, and perhaps for the season from Romo. Tony finished three of four for 29 yards and a touchdown. Passer rating 134.4. If this was intended to “show” Tony Romo to interest other teams in bidding for his services in the offseason, it was likely very successful. It should also give comfort to Dallas should the team need him in the playoffs.
How did Zeke do? He had no plays in the game, and looked a bit surprised by it on the sidelines.
What do his totals look like after the regular season? Same as last week.
Zeke is still at 1,631 yards rushing after sixteen games and remains third all-time for rookie rushers, behind George Rogers at 1,674 and Eric Dickerson at 1,808.
No point in grading this game.
My grades for the season?
- Dak A+. Rookie fourth-round compensatory pick, who started third on the depth chart, came in and replaced the quarterback who owns all the passing records for the Dallas Cowboys, and led the team to a 13-2 start, for the #1 seed in the NFC. He ends the regular season with 23 passing touchdowns, four interceptions, six rushing touchdowns, a quarterback rating of 104.2, a completion percentage of 68%, and an ANY/A of 7.9. He finished with 11 games above a 100 passer rating, for a new NFL rookie record.
- Zeke A+. He finished with 1,631 yards rushing, only 178 yards from the all-time rookie rushing record, despite being rested for the last six quarters of the season. He still won the NFL rushing title by hundreds of yards. He also caught 32 passes for 362 yards, scored 16 touchdowns, and was a great pass protector when called upon.