LANDOVER, MD – What a difference a week makes? Dak Prescott looked like a rookie last week, albeit a good rookie with talent, but he still looked like a player making his NFL debut.
This week, Prescott looked more like a seasoned vet who not only managed the game, but figured out how to win it.
The Cowboys certainly have a better backup quarterback this year. I think it's pretty safe to say they've found their quarterback of the future, too. Now, who knows when the "future" will actually get here, and there's no telling how his career will turn out.
But if two games are any indication, the Cowboys definitely have something going with this "rookie" Dak Prescott.
After the game, some of my colleagues were trying to put together a "Player of the Game" graphic for social media and I think they went with Barry Church for his interception. I said it was Dak "hands down" and I'll still stick with that.
The Cowboys won this game 27-23 over the Redskins because of Prescott and his ability to make throws – clutch throws when the game was on the line.
That's right. He's not just a running quarterback who can complete an occasional pass here and there. Even though that mobility got him into the end zone for the first time in his career, the Cowboys were able to come back and win because of his right arm.
Back in training camp, I certainly questioned his ability to make all of the throws, something that is more uncommon in today's NFL than you might think. Now, one of the tougher throws any quarterback has to make is the 15-yard out route, something that set Troy Aikman apart from other passers of his era.
Not only did Prescott complete one in this game, but it might have been one of the key plays of the day. On third-and-11 at the Redskins 24-yard line, the Cowboys know they've got a shot to tie the game with a field goal. Still, they let Prescott make a play and he fired a strike to Cole Beasley on the left sideline for 12 yards and a huge first down with 6:04 to play.
Moments later, Alfred Morris was in the end zone for what turned out to be a game-winning touchdown. But don't forget this, Prescott had scored on a run earlier in the game and was proving that he was capable of rollouts. That might have been one reason why the middle was wide open for Morris to run through.
[embeddedad0]Here's another example of how different this week was: Prescott went down the field even more, without going down the field much at all. Sounds weird, but it's true. Prescott didn't take big shots, but more of the intermediate throws. And the result was hitting four different players on passes of 20 yards. That wasn't happening last week as the longest throw of the game went for just 21 yards.
Last week, even after the loss, Prescott's teammates used the same word over and over to describe his game: poise.
Travis Frederick, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley and even head coach Jason Garrett all said Dak showed consistent poise throughout the game, which wasn't just his NFL debut, but a game that went down to the wire.
If Dak had poise last week, it seemed like it was elevated to moxie this week. He didn't just have poise, but he played like someone who not only wanted to win, but expected it. And that's probably because he does expect to win.
He told us this week how much he loved to go on the road with a "me-against-the-world" attitude and try to quiet the opposing crowd. Well, he made sure to do that on this day.
Clearly, there was a plan to get Dez the ball, as there should be with a $70 million, playmaking receiver on your side. But the Cowboys and Prescott figured out a way to get him the ball without forcing it too much. Sure, there were some times when the ball could've gone elsewhere, but for the most part, the Cowboys moved Dez around in different places.
And Dak found him. And he found him throughout the game as Bryant totaled 102 yards on seven catches with 12 targets.
They also got Dak on the move, but like they did with Dez, it wasn't forced. There were some rollouts, which resulted in catches by Beasley and Witten and Geoff Swaim. That seems to be a play that Dak is rather comfortable with, throwing the ball on the move.
To me, that can be a nightmarish play for the defenses once Dak gets even more comfortable. The minute he finds the balance of when to run it and when to hit the receiver, that will make him an even more dangerous offensive weapon.
If you want to find something else to be excited about from a rookie quarterback, how about no turnovers? He hasn't thrown an interception or fumbled in his first two games.
This kid is just good. And in the NFL realm, rookies are considered kids.
But the best part for the Cowboys is that Dak Prescott isn't playing like either one.