Eatman: Dak Showed How Much He's 'Grown'


ARLINGTON, Texas – Asked to describe his teammate's performance on Saturday, Ezekiel Elliott said Dak Prescott played like a "grown-ass man."

Obviously, at 6-2, 235 pounds, the 25-year-old Dak literally has been a man for quite some time. But Zeke isn't wrong in what he was really saying. Jerry Jones actually said the same stuff as well.

Because it takes someone who has certainly grown up, with some broad shoulders, who can carry a football team like Dak Prescott was able to do Saturday night.

Was he the best player on the field? Nope, not by a long shot.

Does he leave plays on the field and miss open receivers that many other quarterbacks could make with their eyes closed? Yeah, that happens regularly.

But let's keep this game of questions going. Sometimes it seems like Dak's critics (and I've definitely been one of them at times) stop before asking all the right questions.

How about this one: Does he win games? Does he figure out a way to go out there and carry his team to victory?

That's exactly what Dak Prescott against the Seattle Seahawks. He's one of the biggest reasons the Cowboys are moving on to the NFC Divisional Round, playing next week in either New Orleans or Los Angeles.

At the end of the game, Dak wouldn't let the Cowboys lose. When it appeared as if they were going to have to kick a field goal and extend this lead to just six points in the final two minutes of play, Dak just transformed himself right before our eyes.

The quarterback turned into Jerome Bettis for one play and decided not to go down. Just a simple lead draw to get more yards and force Seattle to call its last timeout, Dak turned it into a game-clinching play where he just refused to be tackled until he got to the 1-yard line.


Dak scored on the next play, and yeah, the defense allowed a touchdown and had to recover an onside kick to fully secure the game, but it was Prescott's huge play that virtually sealed the deal.

In the postgame press conference, I asked Jason Garrett about that run, and as expected, the head coach took his answer to another level.

"He's just a rare guy," Garrett said of Dak. "His leadership, his toughness, his spirit, it's like none other. Somehow, someway he was going to figure this thing out for us. I thought he was outstanding."

And Garrett is right. Dak was outstanding.

At some point, people are going to have to get past the 226 passing yards and a QB rating of 83.6. And they need to remember that this guy knows how to win. Three seasons into his career, and he's led the Cowboys to 13, 9 and now 11 wins, including his first playoff victory.

I heard earlier this week when a certain ESPN analyst correctly pointed out that as good as Dak Prescott has been, he's really never won anything important. He was right about that. Up until Saturday night, Prescott's playoff victory total equaled Chad Hutchinson, Quincy Carter and Steve Pelleur at zero. It's hard to labeled as a really good quarterback when you haven't won a playoff game.

But Dak not only has won a game in the playoffs … _he_ won it.

Sure, he had a costly interception on a pass that wasn't thrown far enough out there for Noah Brown. That could've been really costly – but it wasn't. The defense, as it has done all year, picked up the slack. With another chance, Dak didn't blink and marched his team down the field for the clinching score.

If you're looking for perfection, good luck with that. It'll be hard to find and it won't be this guy here in Dallas. He's not perfect and he's got his flaws.

But he is a flat-out leader. He's mentally and physically tough as nails. And yes, he is a winner, with that elusive playoff victory now under his belt.

And not just any belt. But the belt of a grown-ass-man who wouldn't take no for an answer.