The Dallas Cowboys are relying on their new 29-year-old offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, to fix the offense. Last year, Dallas finished 22nd in the league in offense, which is completely unacceptable considering the offense sent five players to the Pro Bowl. There’s something wrong when you send almost half a starting offense to the Pro Bowl, yet rank in the bottom third of the league in offense. But as poorly as the offense performed at times, the Cowboys still won 10 games and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. How did they do it?
Answer: Dak Prescott saved the day late in the game. (And a pretty good defense)
By now, we all are aware of Prescott’s history of winning games in the fourth quarter.
Since joining the NFL in 2016, no quarterback in the league has led more game-winning drives than Dak Prescott.
Prescott has been the source of 14 game-winning drives during the regular season — defined by Pro Football Reference as an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter or overtime that puts the winning team ahead for the last time — in his three seasons as a pro. That’s more than Drew Brees or Matthew Stafford, who clock in with a tie for second place, have had in the same time frame.
That’s fantastic. But why is he in that position so much? More specifically, why is the Cowboys offense so bad through the first three quarters? Last week, BTB member Batwing88 wrote a Fanpost pondering why Prescott was so much better in the four quarter compared to the first three quarters of the game.
We decided to dig a little deeper and look at the points by quarter breakdown and came up with the following results:
The Cowboys offense starts off average, struggles in the middle, and then turns it on late in the game. What’s astounding is that as bad as the Cowboys offense is in the second and third quarters, they are conversely great in the fourth. How does that happen? Batwing has a theory and it goes like this...
When the game was on the line, Dak thrived. Think about it. Time is running out and it is now or never, in these situations Scott Linehan would have no choice but to put the game in Dak’s hands and start calling to win rather than calling to not mess up. And when given free reign, Dak took advantage of it over and over again, only to be reigned back in at the start of next week.
That’s a pretty sound theory.
The Cowboys game plan is to establish the run and wear down the defense, but one of the drawbacks of this is that they aren’t allowing Prescott to get into any type of rhythm early. Kellen Moore must change that. Last year, Prescott had seven games where he threw for 245 yards or more. The Cowboys were 6-1 in those games.
There’s nothing wrong with a good dose of Ezekiel Elliott, but maybe balance it out a little more. With new weapons like free agent Randall Cobb and pass-catching running back Tony Pollard, the Cowboys certainly are putting the pieces around Prescott to make it possible.
In the ‘90’s, the great Norv Turner attacked defenses with a balanced offense, and then turned Emmitt Smith loose in the fourth quarter. That was an outstanding strategy when you consider all the tools he had to make it happen. Moore has many great tools himself, and he needs to bring some of that.