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Position Analysis: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s air assault against the Lions was superb

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The Cowboys got a great performance from their quarterback, Dak Prescott.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

[Each week we will look back at the game to focus on a single position group and how they performed. Whether it’s high-praise for the Cowboys biggest contributors to another victory formation, or the scapegoats for any potential losses, we’ll spotlight one personnel grouping for review.]

It’s not commonplace for us to focus solely on one player but was there anyone that played better in week 11 than Dak Prescott? The Cowboys had some struggles defensively but fortunately for them, QB Dak Prescott did what he wanted against the Detroit Lions. It was such a great performance that it brought him NFC Player of the Week honors and vaulted his name up the list of candidates for MVP.

WEEK 11 CMP ATT CMP % YARDS TD INT P. RATING SACKED
D. PRESCOTT 29 46 63% 444 3 0 116.6 1

Dak Prescott has been on an absolute tear this season and those that just look at the 6-4 record would be missing the insane growth he’s shown since just last season. The promotion of Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator and the addition of Jon Kitna at QB coach has shown up in Prescott’s development. With every great performance, Jerry Jones knows the price tag of a long-term extension is increasing, but there is no doubt Jones would gladly pay it.

The Cowboys have made a transition from a running team to a passing team and they have Prescott to thank. Even head coach Jason Garrett spoke about meeting with the team prior to this past game to take accountability for the loss at home vs. the Vikings. Why? It’s because Garrett knows he took the ball out of his best player’s hand and it cost him. The result was a complete release against the Lions. The Cowboys told Dak Prescott to let it rip and he did exactly that against a porous Lions secondary.

Prescott averaged 15.3 yards per pass on 29 completions. Dak also threw three touchdowns, bringing his total to 21 on the season, with six games to play. Prescott is second to only Russell Wilson in touchdown passes. On his first of three touchdowns last week, Prescott exploited a mismatch and found Tony Pollard on a crossing pattern over the middle. Pollard turned on the jets and it was over:

The pass might not be as impressive as the play Pollard makes but it shows Prescott’s killer instinct, awareness, and it’s the right read. This second clip is one of Next Gen’s improbable completions of week 11. The play is made by Michael Gallup but the decision was all setup by Dak Prescott. Smart quarterbacks have to take shots like Dak does here as he notices Gallup getting too much attention from a grabby defender.

Gallup’s amazing ability to come down with that was great, but Prescott knew the flag was coming the whole time. Thankfully, Gallup rewarded Prescott anyway with a 41-yard reception and the Cowboys declined the penalty. The Cowboys would score again on a rushing touchdown by Ezekiel Elliott that took the lead 17-14.

Perhaps Dak Prescott’s best drive was during his two-minute drill before halftime. Backed up at his own 17-yard line, Prescott showed true passing aggressiveness. On 1st and 10, a 10-yard pass to Michael Gallup. 1st and 10 again, a 49-yard connection with Randall Cobb. On 2nd & 5, inside the red zone, watch Prescott lead his receiver in for the six-point strike:

Prescott’s aggressiveness was on display the entire game and he even opened up the second-half with a 33-yard completion to Randall Cobb. On the Cowboys’ final points of the game, Prescott beats the Lions’ blitz by just getting the screen off to Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott has to alter his motion to get the pass around the unblocked blitzer:

The Cowboys would still have two more possessions after their final score. Dallas ran a total of eight plays not including three kneel-downs, six were pass attempts. Of those six passes, Prescott completed three for a combined 51 yards. Just under the two-minute warning, ahead by eight, Prescott forced the Lions to use their final timeout. On 2nd and 10 from his own 13, Dak Prescott ended the game with this ice-cold closer:

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys had seven pass plays of 20 yards or more against the Lions. In terms of explosive passing, Dak Prescott has no equals this season. Prescott has 47 20+yard passes for a total 1,426 yards, 11 TD’s, with an average of 30.3 yards per completion. Gone are the days of believing the Cowboys can’t win on the arm of Dak Prescott. Prescott is the NFL’s leading passer through 10 games with 3,221 yards. And with that note, we say goodbye to a ton of tired arguments regarding this quarterback’s abilities. Let it rip.