In a game that many had mused was defining his legacy as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott delivered. Prescott was surgical in the Cowboys’ 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aided by a dominant defensive performance and gutsy coaching, Prescott and the Cowboys silenced the doubters if only for one more week. Prescott took his team to victory along with this week’s game ball.
Talk is cheap
In the narrative, a lot of things were not in the Cowboys’ favor, and granted how they played last week at Washington, some fans and national observers weren’t giving them much of a chance to win. Prescott had been in the crosshairs of nearly every major sports debate show, dissecting his interception totals and where he stands alongside his quarterback counterparts entering the playoffs.
As history suggested, the Cowboys hadn’t won a game against Tom Brady or hadn’t won a road playoff game since 1993. That is until Monday night.
After some early struggles in connecting with his receivers, Prescott found a rhythm on the third drive of the game. He first connected on a pass to the sideline to Michael Gallup to kick start the series, before throwing his first touchdown pass of the night to Dalton Schultz.
The @DallasCowboys strike first! @Dak @BinghamBaller9— NFL (@NFL) January 17, 2023
: #DALvsTB on ESPN/ABC
: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/HABicMhZeY pic.twitter.com/d8crOsv1dX
Dak was dealin’
Prescott did an excellent job of manipulating the safety Logan Ryan with his eyes before finding Schultz in the end zone. That play was indicative of how the rest of his night would go. He continuously carved up the Tampa Bay secondary with one excellent read after another.
Despite his early struggles, Prescott recovered exceptionally. After his first four passes were misfires, he had fifteen consecutive completions. As stated earlier, he was fantastic with his eyes and identifying what the Buccaneers were doing before and after the snap.
The pressure of the moment didn’t faze Prescott at all, and his coaches knew it. In the red zone, facing a 4th and goal from the Tampa Bay one-yard line, head coach McCarthy put the ball in his quarterback’s hands. Prescott took the snap, gave an excellent ball fake, and turned the corner around the crashing defensive end to give the Cowboys the early 12-0 lead.
Could've fooled us with that play fake, @dak!— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) January 17, 2023
Nice stroll in for 6️⃣
: @espn | #DALvsTB pic.twitter.com/1YWJAQAAQ9
Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman, said during the broadcast it was the best game of Prescott’s career. It would be hard to argue that. Prescott’s arm and legs were on full display. When he wasn’t throwing the ball into tight windows with outstanding accuracy, like on his touchdown pass to Michael Gallup, he was extending plays outside the pocket and finding Dalton Schultz for a score.
The numbers don’t lie. 25 completions on 33 attempts (75%), 302 yards, 143.3 passer rating, and five total touchdowns. However, the best number of all is zero turnovers. A welcome sight to see Prescott’s return to postseason action.
Next up, a playoff rematch with the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Stadium Sunday night. Man, what year is this? Once again having to go through the 49ers for a chance to advance deeper in the playoffs than they have since 1995. Prescott put on a show and left his audience wanting more. Bravo, Dak.