While bigger tests and opportunities still lie ahead for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, his performance in Monday night’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was already a huge moment for the seventh-year quarterback. In the ongoing battle for the hearts and minds of Cowboys fans, there’s now one area where Prescott’s numbers have surpassed that of his predecessors, Tony Romo.
With a nearly flawless showing in the first round of the 2022 playoffs, highlighted by four passing touchdowns and a rushing score with zero turnovers, Prescott posted the best postseason numbers of any Dallas QB since Troy Aikman. It dwarfed anything we ever saw from Romo in his six playoff games, giving Prescott the edge as the better playoff performer.
Here’s where Prescott and Romo currently compare in their postseason careers:
Dak Prescott (5 games)
10 TDs vs 3 INTs
98.3 passer rating
96 rushing yards w/ 4 TDs
2-3 W/L record
Tony Romo (6 games)
61.62 % completions
8 TDs vs 2 INTs
93.0 passer rating
26 rushing yards w/ 0 TDs
2-4 W/L record
It will be noted that each only has two playoff victories and that neither’s ever advanced past the second round. But wins and loses are really team accomplishments, the individual play of both in the tournament games favors Prescott.
In fact, many would suggest that Dak already had the single-best playoff game of either player. His personal performance in the 2016 playoff loss to Green Bay, 302 passing yards and three touchdowns, was still arguably better than any of Romo’s six postseason efforts.
But if there was still a debate before Monday night, Prescott ended it with one of the best nights of his career. As the numbers started piling up, you heard Troy Aikman and Joe Buck mentioning Dak in the same sentences with Aikman and Roger Staubach in terms of Cowboys playoff passing records.
Even with the problem of comparing teams across seasons and eras, the argument of “Romo never having this much talent around him” will be made. Whether you come down on one side or the other on that argument is a personal choice with no objective answer.
Obviously, there’s still plenty of work ahead for Prescott in terms of his overall legacy. A bad night next Sunday in San Francisco will undo most of the goodwill earned in Tampa. Many are already writing the last game off due to a weak opponent from a bad division, expecting the 49ers to expose Dak and the Cowboys in ways the Bucs weren’t equipped to.
While that overarching story is still being written, last night set a new bar for the modern era of Cowboys quarterback. Prescott stepped up in a way many doubted he could, going on the road and potentially putting the final nail in Tom Brady’s career. It was a superstar performance.
If nothing else, no matter what happens from here, Dak Prescott just made the argument that he has done more than Romo in terms of playoff contributions. Maybe he’ll never get to the mountaintop, but he’s doing what he can to not be part of the problem.