It can't be this easy. This is the NFL, he's a rookie. There's a learning curve involved. He can't just step in and find success immediately, right?
Well, Dak Prescott is sure making it look easy. Yes, it's just two preseason games, but the young quarterback is doing just about everything perfectly, giving the Dallas Cowboys little reason to go out and find a veteran backup quarterback.
Throw it long? Check. Find the underneath route? Check. Show a nice touch on the sideline? Check. Even scramble when needed? Check. And maybe most importantly, show poise and leadership? Check.
In the Cowboys' 41-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins in front of 82,862 fans, Prescott was again outstanding, perhaps even overshadowing the debut of Tony Romo, who saw his first game action since his 2015 season was cut short due to a broken collarbone.
The rookie finished with 199 yards on 12-of-15 passing with two touchdown tosses and no interceptions. He also put up two rushing scores and led the Cowboys to two additional field goals as well. In two games of work, Prescott has now completed 81.5 percent of his passes with a total of six touchdowns.
Of course, Romo held up his end of the bargain, as he completed 4-of-5 passes for 49 yards and a 107.5 passer rating in a limited amount of work.
It took a series for Romo and company to get things going, though, their first possession resulting in four penalties in five plays, which consisted of three holds and a pass interference on the Dolphins. Throw in another Miami flag on the ensuing punt and there was a fear this game might be the longest in history.
Indeed, the two teams combined for 22 penalties for a whopping 192 yards overall on the night, a true indication that this is the preseason and there are still kinks to be worked out.
But in try number two, the Cowboys offense clicked beautifully. Romo connected on all three of his pass attempts, the first an 18-yarder to Dez Bryant over the middle, with Alfred Morris carrying the ball three times himself for 30 yards. The last of those saw the running back break loose over left tackle for a 15-yard scamper into the end zone and an early 7-0 lead for the Cowboys.
With that, Romo's night was done, Prescott stepping in to see if he could follow up on his exciting debut against the Rams just six days earlier. And with four of the Cowboys' five starting offensive linemen still in the game – left tackle Tyron Smith did not play – and the team's top wide receivers at his disposal, Prescott picked up right where he left off.
[embeddedad0]First he hit tight end Geoff Swaim, he of the two drops last week, for 22 yards, then later found both Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley for gains of 12 and 14 yards, respectively. Throw in a 20-yard dash up the middle by Morris and the Cowboys found themselves in enemy territory again at the Dolphins' 28-yard line.
That's when Prescott threw a honey of a pass to Bryant on the left sideline, who tiptoed just inside the pylon to push the Cowboys' lead to 14-0. That's 95 yards on seven plays with the quarterback going 4-for-4. Impressive.
Or so we thought. On the next possession, with all of the starters except Morris now comfortably resting on the sideline, Prescott again reached the end zone … three times. After the team reached the Miami 20-yard line, Morris rumbled 20 yards for an apparent score, only to have it called back because of an illegal formation.
Two plays later, Prescott hit Brice Butler on the right side for a touchdown, but this time Butler was called for offensive pass interference. The third time is the charm.
On third-and-10, back at the Dolphins' 20, Prescott found his receivers covered and his pocket collapsing. Undaunted, he floated outside, pump-faked and then took off running, darting untouched into the end zone for another score.
On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys defense had its moments in the first half as well, the best perhaps coming on the Dolphins' second drive of the game when the visitors worked their way down to a first-and-goal at the Dallas 4-yard line. But the Cowboys came up big and kept Miami from reaching paydirt, cornerback Morris Claiborne, who has had an outstanding training camp, knocking away a pass meant for wide receiver Kenny Stills in back of the end zone on fourth down.
After that, however, Miami responded with 14 points, the first score coming after Dallas was hit with roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. That led to a 13-yard touchdown catch by Stills.
And it was Stills who found the end zone again on the Dolphins' next possession, although this successful drive came with Miami's first-stringers facing the Cowboys' backups. At that point, Dallas held a 21-14 lead with just under three minutes left to play in the half.
But things got interesting in the final few minutes, starting first with a 51-yard field goal from Dan Bailey, who is obviously ready for the 2016 campaign to begin. That was followed on Miami's next possession with backup quarterback Matt Moore having to leave the game with a concussion after an unnecessary roughness penalty on linebacker James Morris. His replacement, Brandon Doughty, was then sacked by Shaneil Jenkins and stripped of the ball on his very first snap, the Cowboys' Cedric Thornton recovering and returning the prize 16 yards to the Dolphins 6-yard line.
Out comes Bailey again shortly thereafter for a chip-shot field goal, the Cowboys going into halftime with a 27-14 lead.
So he's done, right? Nope. Out came Prescott for the start of the third quarter, and within two plays had another seven points on the board. He first rifled a 58-yard bomb to Butler down to the Miami 1-yard line before then tossing a perfect back-shoulder throw to Butler for the score.
After Vince Mayle proceeded to block a Dolphins punt, Prescott managed to reach the end zone again, this time powering in from the 1-yard line on a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak.
With the Cowboys now owning a commanding lead, there wasn't much left to do, but just play out the clock, meaning on came Jameill Showers at quarterback and those further down the Dallas depth chart.
Much punting then ensued before the Cowboys eventually wrapped up a 41-14 victory to move to 1-1 on the preseason. That marked their most points in a preseason game since the 2003 season – Romo's rookie year – when Dallas defeated the Raiders, 52-13.
The Cowboys will next head to Seattle on Thursday, Aug. 25, for their third exhibition outing on the schedule, the all-important dress-rehearsal game.
Experience the all the action with some of our favorite photos from the preseason opener at AT&T Stadium against the Miami Dolphins.