FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys are home this Super Bowl week following a first-round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, an ending that still doesn't sit well with Dak Prescott.
"We thought we were headed in the right direction to do what we needed to do to go get a win and we didn't," Prescott said Thursday on the Rich Eisen Show. "The way that it ended, it's just one of those that sticks to you, those moments, an opportunity that you'll think about for a long time."
The loss obviously still stings. Prescott and the Cowboys will spend the offseason figuring out what went wrong and what must improve.
But the franchise quarterback isn't blaming the Cowboys' early exit on the calf strain he suffered six games into the season: a 35-29 victory at New England on Oct. 17.
Prescott strained his right calf on his winning touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb. He rested the following week (the Cowboys' bye) and was inactive for the 20-16 win at Minnesota on Halloween night, then started final 11 games, including the playoff loss.
The Cowboys started the season 6-1 before Prescott's injury and finished 6-5 after his return. But the calf strain wasn't a factor.
"Obviously it went on for a couple of weeks going on to that bye week," he said. "I was able to rest it then, missed the next week out in Minnesota. But I wouldn't say it lingered as long as people gave me the excuse of it.
"I went through a period in the time right there in the season and just didn't play my best ball, and people tried to say it was it the calf. The calf got better. I did everything that I needed to do for it to heal."
Despite admittedly going through a stretch where his production dipped, Prescott finished the season with a franchise-record 37 touchdown passes and a career-high 68.8 completion percentage while throwing for 4,449 yards and only 10 interceptions. He was the runner-up for NFL Comeback Player of the Year (Bengals' Joe Burrow) and a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award (Rams' Andrew Whitworth).