November 22, 2016
Credit for the Dallas Cowboy’s eight-game winning streak seemed to be split between the offensive line and running back Ezekiel Elliott entering their game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Nov. 20. It isn’t like Dallas’ rookie quarterback, http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-cowboys/post/_/id/4755882/in-any-situation-dak-prescott-figures-things-out">Dak Prescott, doesn’t get enough credit, but many seemed to think he was more of a game manager than a quarterback who can win games on his own.
The http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/18098111/there-no-kryptonite-dallas-cowboys-nfl-2016">Ravens’ game plan was to force Prescott to try beating them with his arm.
That plan looked perfect early on, as Baltimore’s top-ranked rush defense bottled up Elliott for 26 yards on six carries in the first half. The Ravens even rattled Prescott, who started four for 10 on pass completions, gaining only 31 yards on the Cowboys’ first four drives.
Dallas punted on those drives, and everyone had to wonder if having Tony Romo as the backup quarterback was putting pressure on the young rookie. Then came first down and 30 yards for the Cowboys with under 10 minutes left in the second quarter and Baltimore leading 7-0.
Most of the time, a team facing first and 30 from its own 28 yard line would lead to a punt from the offense. But this is when http://www.espn.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=400874638">Prescott began to take over and showed that he is a major reason for the Cowboys’ rebirth.
Prescott took off for 12 yards on first down, and on the next play, he ate up 12 more yards with a pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant, setting up a makeable third down and six yards.
Then, Prescott hit wide receiver Brice Butler on a 41-yard bomb to set up first and goal at the Baltimore seven yard line. The Cowboys scored three plays later when Prescott found Cole Beasley in the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
Prescott shook off this rough start to end the game with 23 completions for 26 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. In the http://www.espn.com/nfl/recap?gameId=400874638">second half, he went 14 for 15 on passing, and Dallas began to take over the game.
The Cowboys salted away the game in the fourth quarter with a drive that lasted more than six minutes. Prescott went three for three on passing, but Elliot handled the bulk of the work. All the same, great play from the fourth-round draft pick at quarterback led the way for the Cowboys’ running game to take over in the fourth quarter.
Prescott made play after play throwing the ball in a game where the Ravens wanted to see if he would fail under the pressure. But Baltimore’s game plan blew up in its face when Prescott proved that he can make every throw needed to beat opponents.
It is likely that the rest of the teams on the Cowboys’ schedule will try to employ the same tactic down the road. Even though that seems like a sound strategy, the former Mississippi State University star has shown time and time again that he is capable of winning games. Prescott’s play is even more impressive when you remember that he’s a rookie and that, last season, the http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4752495/dallas-cowboys-backup-quarterback-plan-confusing-but-its-the-road-they-are-choosing">Cowboys’ backup quarterbacks went a combined 1-11 after Romo was injured twice.
Coming out of Mississippi State, the book on Prescott said he could be an NFL quarterback, but he would be a project. The former Bulldog got hit with comparisons to former University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
MSU head coach Dan Mullen coached both quarterbacks, both are charismatic leaders, and both have an unrelenting drive to be the best. The thing that most people didn’t notice is that Prescott was always a better passer than Tebow.
Prescott even did more with less at MSU. That is not a knock against the players at Mississippi State, but Florida is nearly always stacked with four- and five-star recruits. MSU doesn’t have a stockpile of recruits that other programs covet. Yet, Prescott still led the program to its first No. 1 ranking and made his case as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Playing in the massive stadiums and football-obsessed SEC prepared Prescott for the NFL. No stage has been too big for him—though the Super Bowl could be a different story.
It is time to start giving Prescott equal credit for the Cowboys’ wins along with the offensive line and Elliott. Prescott is a franchise quarterback, and Sunday’s win against the Ravens proved it.