As December approaches, Cowboys need more Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys blog


ARLINGTON, Texas – During the regular season, December and January are when quarterbacks make a name for themselves in football.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has to hope that the final six weeks of the season, which begins next Thursday against the New Orleans Saints, will be better than what happened in November.

The Cowboys went 1-3 after Prescott returned from a calf strain with losses in November to the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, 36-33 in overtime at Thanksgiving. For the month, Prescott completed 103 of 160 passes for 1,119 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.

November scored his lowest yards-per-game average (280), lowest completion percentage (64.4%) and most sacks (eight). In the last eight quarters of the month, he did not have receiver Amari Cooper, who was on the reserve / COVID-19 list. In the last six quarters, he hasn’t had his main receiver, CeeDee Lamb, due to a concussion.

He didn’t have his left Pro Bowl tackle Tyron Smith for three of those games. Running back Ezekiel Elliott suffers from a bone contusion in his right knee. The Cowboys moved their left guard with Connor McGovern replacing Connor Williams and kept Terence Steele on La’el Collins on the right tackle.

When you’re the third-highest-paid NFL quarterback with an average contract worth $ 40 million per season, all that matters is the results. When Prescott signed his contract in March, he went from an underpaid and undervalued fourth-round pick to a high-income quarterback where expectations soar to absurd highs, whether he throws at Cooper and Lamb or at Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown.

For much of the Raiders’ contest, the passing game looked like it was before Cooper came into a trade in 2018, when Prescott struggled to throw 200 yards. In the first half, he completed 11 of 17 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, but 51 yards were taken in one play and the Cowboys had just 13 points. In the third quarter, he pitched for just 19 yards.

“I’m just trying to stay in the game – stay in the game plan, trust my readings, trust the games that are called,” Prescott said. “I’ve been in this attack for a while, so it’s about not forcing something and trying to do too much, rather than letting the game come to me.”

With the position he plays and the money he earns, Prescott understands the expectations but that doesn’t change his parameters.

“It’s my job, it’s to bring up guys, but that doesn’t mean trying to force things or trying to do anything outside of the game plan,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a balance. It’s about being who I am and opinions about what others have in mind to make my job look, don’t really affect the way I approach my day-to-day work.

Despite the struggles against Las Vegas, everything was in place for Prescott to deliver.

Twice in the last three minutes, he led the Cowboys on equalizer practices and opened overtime with the ball.

Before Thursday, he had never had an incomplete pass in overtime, clocking a perfect 18 of 18 for 214 yards and three touchdowns, including a 35-yard Lamb to beat the New England Patriots in October.

That streak ended Thursday when a third pass he completed on the move hundreds of times missed Brown and forced a punt for the Cowboys. Prescott will no longer touch the ball as Daniel Carlson of the Raiders kicks the winning basket.

“You just have to guess that the ball, in a way, escaped,” Prescott said. “Not necessarily an apology for that, I guess. “

The final numbers against the Raiders are more like Prescott’s: 32 of 47, 375 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but were misleading as he threw for 209 yards in the fourth quarter when the offense found a rhythm going to a non-grouping air.

“You saw Dak’s numbers, it looked like he had some good numbers,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He threw what, 68-69%, over 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions? If it’s difficult, damn it, I’d like to play tomorrow.

As the schedule moves to December (and January), McCarthy isn’t worried about Prescott. Neither does owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

In 17 regular season games in December and January, Prescott threw for 4,059 yards on 359 of 561 passes (65.4%) with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He’s 11-6, though in January’s lone regular-season game he only played a quarterback in a loss to the Eagles with the Cowboys’ playoff positioning settled.

This season, four of the last six are away, with the Saints’ contest starting a three-game road trip. Four of the remaining six games are NFC East games, and the Eagles could start to push the conversation about a division run with their recent game.

Prescott must deliver.

“We have to go back to believing in the basics and playing fundamental football and being smart, being able to keep officials out of the game, playing complementary football, scoring touchdowns when the defense gets turnovers, and we’ll be OK,” Prescott said.

“The feeling is that I’m sure a bunch of people jump on the train, which is fine with us because we know what we’re capable of. We know the team we have. Most importantly, we know the men who are in this locker room. It’s the most important thing, it’s just our belief in each other. It’s not going anywhere. It does not fade. We lost a difficult game in overtime. It is essential.


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