Heading into Sunday night’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, there was pressure on Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott to have a big game for his team. Hopeful to avenge his last two playoff losses and perform well against the Niners, Prescott had arguably the worst game of his career.
The offense was unable to get anything positive going from the opening possession. Six of the first seven possessions for the Cowboys offense resulted in a three-and-out. The team went into the half with just 93 offensive yards.
It is easy to look at the Dan Quinn-led defense after their first possession, when they allowed the 49ers offense to methodically drive down the field and score a touchdown to take a quick 7-0 lead. However, the unit quickly rebounded and stopped the 49ers on several possessions to allow the offense to respond. They did not respond.
The Cowboys offense trying not to screw up after the defense managed to force two 49ers punts in a row pic.twitter.com/3h782qPf5b— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) October 9, 2023
Frankly, Prescott looked like a deer in headlights from the opening snap. He missed TE Luke Schoonmaker on a deep pass on the opening possession, and followed it with a pass to Gallup near the boundary that wasn’t even in the field of play.
Statistically, it was one of the worst games of Prescott’s career. He threw for 153 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in the game. He posted a QBR of 46.4 and had a passer rating of 51.6.
Prescott got significantly outplayed by 49ers QB Brock Purdy, who looked like he belonged in a different tier of quarterbacks.
Dak Prescott vs Brock Purdy tonight: pic.twitter.com/2WTl5FbepF— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) October 9, 2023
When asked about the performance, Prescott acknowledged that it was an outcome he had not anticipated, and that it was a humbling experience.
Dak Prescott: “Didn’t see it coming. Put everything into this and got punched in the mouth. Called it a couple weeks ago ‘humbling’ against Arizona. But this may be the most humbling game I’ve ever been a part of. They beat us in every aspect.” https://t.co/9SseqHdHhE— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 9, 2023
Since his incredible rookie season in 2016, there has been a microscope from the national media on Prescott. After signing his extension with the team in 2021, the microscope got even more focused, with big expectations to succeed in the playoffs. In his eighth season with the team, Prescott has yet to fulfill these expectations, with the team underperforming in the playoffs.
Fans of the team believed that this season could be different, with the most talented roster of Prescott’s career. Week five’s matchup against the Niners was a chance for Prescott to prove he would take the next step as QB of the Dallas Cowboys, and this team could compete for a Super Bowl. Super Bowl’s aren’t won in October, and there is still plenty of football to played before the playoffs. However, Prescott did nothing against the 49ers to prove that this year would be different than years past.
Sports media is going to crucify Dak. And there is no rebuttal. His only redemption at this point is a Super Bowl.— Will Cain (@willcain) October 9, 2023
The Cowboys got outplayed by the 49ers in every aspect of the game. The most alarming aspect was the difference in quarterback play. Prescott looked incapable of leading his offense in the big matchup, something that shouldn’t be evident from an eight-year veteran at the position. The 49ers have proven themselves as the team to beat in the NFC, and if the Cowboys have any chance of going to a Super Bowl anytime soon, it will likely involve having to beat San Francisco. With Prescott’s putrid performances over the last three matchups against the team, it brings the question if the Cowboys can accomplish this feat with him at the helm of the offense.