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Cowboys Game Ball of the Week: Dak Prescott earns it, but not through his stats

It was a mixed-bag for the Cowboys QB, but his determination wins out.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

If you think that the problems surrounding Dak Prescott are suddenly solved, it would be wise to think again. Prescott’s statistical line is not one that will likely win a lot of football games over time. He only threw for 160 yards, and 64 of that came on one play. There was a stretch in the middle of the game where things bogged down, it wasn’t all Prescott’s fault, but still, the Cowboys offense is surely still a work in progress. As is Prescott.

Even so, we’re giving the game ball to Prescott for a few reasons. One was answering the challenge early when he threw a perfect strike to Tavon Austin for a 64-yard TD that opened the scoring. That one play let the Giants know that last week’s Cowboys offense was history, and that they would challenge the defense deep. Prescott tried a couple of more long passes, one that could have been caught by Michael Gallup, that showed he knew he couldn’t continue what he was doing last week. He had to take some shots downfield if for no other reason than keeping the defense honest.

Second, Prescott was very decisive in his reads and delivered some accurate passes, except when he was under pressure. Yes, he missed a wide-open Rico Gathers in the endzone while backpedaling from pressure, but when presented with a decent pocket he made his reads quickly and delivered the ball accurately. He was throwing darts most of the game and connected at a 64% clip, not bad.

Third, he used his legs in a smarter way. The obvious was his read-options that were very potent. He ended up with 45 yards rushing on seven carries, that’s a very nice 6.4 yards per carry average. But there was another subtle part of using his legs, as in the times he didn’t use them. Prescott looked much more comfortable in the pocket and didn’t bail out quickly nearly as much as he did last week. Yes, the Giants were getting nowhere the amount of pressure the Panthers did, but Prescott looked steady and comfortable staying in the pocket instead of the jittery display he put on last week.

Finally, no turnovers. Prescott got away with a couple of passes that could have been possible interceptions, but on the night he had no fumbles and no interceptions. That is huge when the Cowboys defense is playing the way it is right now. If the offense is efficient, puts some points on the board and doesn’t turn the ball over, the defense is taking care of the rest.

As noted at the top of this article, Prescott hasn’t totally turned the corner based on this one game. It would be nice if he could at lest get over 200 yards passing on a regular basis. Teams are still packing the box so he needs to continue to take shots deep and make teams pay. There is still work to be done. Also, the defense really won this game, and they could easily be given the game ball. Maybe the duo of Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard deserve it for the combination of blitzes and tight coverage in the secondary.

In the end, I’m giving it to Dak Prescott. Not because he turned into Aaron Rodgers, but because he did the things he needed to do to get the Cowboys a win. After all the pressure he faced during the week, he didn’t fold or complain. He noted that he needed to play better, then he did. He’ll still face doubts until he starts stringing together some solid performances, but for this week... kudos Dak.

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