ARLINGTON, TX — For the first time during the 2023 season, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys found themselves in a fight for their football lives at home. They entered the Week 13 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks with a 13-game win streak at AT&T Stadium that featured a whopping 205-60 point differential; but Geno Smith and his offense had other ideas on Thursday.
"We talked about the records early in the week, and we can't pick the matchups, but we know the stretch we have in front of us," said Prescott following a harrowing comeback victory in prime time.
Smith led the Seahawks to a 21-20 lead over the Cowboys at halftime and extended it to a 28-20 gap on their first drive of the second half — having scored on the final one in the first half to take the lead — and Prescott was forced to claw his way back in the fourth quarter.
And so he did, mounting a seven-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a strike to tight end Jake Ferguson and a successful two-point conversion to Brandin Cooks that gave the Cowboys a 38-35 lead, followed by a six-play, 35-yard drive that ended in a field goal from Brandon Aubrey.
Micah Parsons blew through the Seahawks' offensive line on 4th-and-2 to effectively end the game when a panicked Smith threw the ball into the turf.
With that, the Cowboys proved they can take as many punches as they can throw.
"This was a big one to get," said Prescott. "The first one [against a team with] a winning record but, more importantly, to win in the fashion in which we did. The game was back-and-forth. We were down at halftime. We were down in the fourth quarter. But the guys and the team were just making plays when the plays were needed — playing ultimate complementary football.
"Stopping them, getting a touchdown and getting two fourth-down stops when the game was on the line was huge. It was complementary football at its finest. To get a big win that was different from most of these at home, and we can take a big chunk of confidence into next week and just moving forward."
The aforementioned comeback serves as the 13th of Prescott's career, also the owner of 21 game-winning drives, and his lethality against one of the best secondaries in the entire NFL — finishing the evening with 299 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions — rightfully pushes him further into the MVP conversation.
"It's fun. It's what you play the game for," he said of the go-ahead touchdown drive against Seattle. "As a quarterback, you want the ball in your hands with a chance to go win the game, take the lead, whatever it may be. We practice those situations a lot, too, so that's credit to Mike [McCarthy] and the staff, and the rest of the guys and the players for being prepared and locked in.
"We've had so many reps at it that it's no different than the reps at practice. … We just go out there and execute. It's fun, and you see big-time players go out there and make big-time plays."
The heater that Prescott is on isn't one at all, in his view, but rather the standard.
"It's my expectations, honestly," said the two-time Pro Bowler. "I put a lot into this game. I work my ass off. I've got amazing players and coaches around me doing the exact same. … The reason I'm playing this way is the guys around me, simple as that."
Still, it is inevitable that goalposts will be moved by his detractors following this victory, despite the fact Prescott almost literally willed the Cowboys to a comeback win on an afternoon that, for the most part, saw Dallas' defense (arguably the best in the league) struggle until it mattered most.
But don't count on Prescott giving the negative energy any thought, or the positive energy, for that matter — remaining as level as he's ever been while he puts a flamethrower to opponents.
"I appreciate them," he said of his haters. "People can say what they want, but I have the pen and I have the paper, so I'm the one doing the writing."
And, so far, it's one hell of a read.