ARLINGTON, Texas – Typically, you wouldn't expect to open the quarterback's postgame press conference with a question about his running ability.
When the quarterback's running ability helps fuel the offense to 378 total yards and 40 points, though, you can make an exception.
"It just opened everything up," Dak Prescott said. "Some of it was called runs, and just read options. The end game was to read keep it, and a lot of them were just man-to-man protection and man-to-man coverage. The protection was solid, and I was able to get out of the pocket and make them pay."
That's a definitive understatement. Heading into this game, Prescott had never carried the ball more than eight times in a game, and his single-game high was just 45 yards.
He obliterated both of those numbers, toting the rock 11 times for 82 yards and a touchdown, keeping the chains moving for a Dallas ground game that simply ran over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"Just to be out there with a lot of time of possession, keeping the ball like we did, keeping the defense energized and off the field," Prescott said. "It definitely just helped the team and allowed us to play great, complementary football – something we had not been doing this season."
Don't get it twisted – Ezekiel Elliott was still a crucial component of everything the Cowboys did on offense. Elliott turned in a workmanlike performance against a solid Jacksonville run defense, rushing the ball 24 times for 106 yards and a shockingly easy 15-yard touchdown run.
But whereas most of Elliott's runs were short, physical and methodical, Prescott's running element simply baffled the Jaguars. On the Cowboys' second possession of the game, he kept an option keeper around the left side and glided 17 yards, untouched for the first touchdown of the game.
Later on, he simply extended drives, scrambling for gains of seven, four, four and 10 – all on drives that culminated in touchdown throws.
By the third quarter, it looked too easy, as Prescott spun out of a pressure, broke contain and galloped 28 easy yards.
It was easy to see the effect it had without any analysis, but Cole Beasley outlined the problems that Prescott and Elliott can present for opposing defenses perfectly.
"Well, if you've got to defend him and Zeke in the run game – it's almost impossible, I feel like," he said. "Linemen have got to hold their spots, and ends – when they're coming down, they can't really come all the way, because Dak can pull it at any moment. When you have that dynamic, it's tough to stop our run game."
When it was all said and done, the Cowboys had rushed for 206 yards against the NFL's best overall defense – a full 105 yards more than the Jaguars typically allow. As as result of that success, not to mention a few takeaways, they put up 40 points on a defense that had been allowing 17 per game.
"This is the most dominant performance we've had since I've been here," Elliott said. "We knew what we wanted to do. We came out, we started fast, we executed well and we handled our business."
It will be interesting to see how this translates going forward. Assuredly, future opponents will watch this tape and key in. It seems unlikely Prescott has a ton of uncontested 17 and 28-yard runs in his future.
But for an offense that's still trying to hit its stride, it's one more positive development.