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Offseason | 2024

Mick Shots: A deeper dive into Dak's playoff record 


FRISCO, Texas – Ran across this the other day making me think about, you know, one of those stats stuffed into a box with a nice ribbon tied on top without actually looking inside for the details.

That playoff record stat continually being stuffed down Dak Prescott's throat, those detractors trying to minimize what he has accomplished during his eight seasons with the Cowboys.

That Dak is 2-5 in the playoffs.

That while Dak led the Cowboys to a third consecutive 12-5 record in 2023, that he led the NFL with his 36 touchdown passes, finished second with a 105.3 QB rating, led the NFL with his 410 completions, that his third 4,000-yard passing season (4,516) tied Tony Romo for the most in franchise history, but …

He went 0-1 in the playoffs, losing 48-32 to the Green Bay Packers in the first round, squandering a homefield advantage the Cowboys earned by becoming the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

All Dak's fault.

Well, our Cowboys fan-club buddy on the other side of the pond, Mike Poland, came up with a pretty good stat that has blinking lights going off, one routinely overlooked when tossing around that 2-5 playoff record.

How about Dak's playoff record against opponents scoring at least 30 points?

Uh, 0-3.

This is what 2-5 doesn't reveal.

In his rookie season of 2016, leading Dallas to a franchise-tying high 13-3 record, the Cowboys trailing 28-18 with 11:25 left to play, Dak drags the team into a 31-31 tie with 35 seconds remaining, only for the defense to allow Aaron Rodgers to march the Packers 42 yards in five plays, needing just 32 seconds to set up Mason Crosby's game-winning 51-yard walk-off field goal for the 34-31 victory.,

Nobody but Dak gets blame for losing that one.

Or take 2018, the 30-22 loss to the Rams at The Coliseum. Why, the Rams ran for a Cowboys opponent playoff record 273 yards and three touchdowns, led by C.J. Anderson coming off his couch to gain 123 of those yards.

Dak now 1-2, drowned in another 30-burger.

And then this past January, the defense giving up 41 of the 48 points, the Packers young quarterback Jordan Love in his first NFL playoff appearance putting up a 157.2 QB rating along the way, 1.1 points away from perfection (158.3).

That darn Dak.

Now then, being curious, wonder what other NFL QB records are when having to overcome 30-plus points in a playoff game?

Glad you asked. Here are a few choice ones:

  • Joe Montana: 0-3.
  • Brett Favre: 0-7.
  • Drew Brees: 0-3.
  • Ben Roethlisberger: 0-7.
  • Aaron Rodgers: 1-5, his one beating Dak, 34-31.
  • John Elway: 1-5.
  • Tom Brady: 2-5, his fifth the 31-14 loss to Dak in the 2022 season.
  • Peyton Manning: 2-4.
  • And just for grins, Troy Aikman 0-1, Roger Staubach 0-3.

Not for nothing, just remember, when you see that 2-5 again, do yourself a favor by factoring in the reason for three of those losses.

  • So Jealous: Saw the picture causing so many headlines, breaking news sounders and gnashing of teeth, Dak walking dockside in Cabo with a protective boot on his right foot. Why, I had been walking around with a protective boot on my left foot for the past two weeks, thanks to what doc says is ankle tendonitis, and never even got a mention. What the heck? As for Dak, he turned off the smoke detectors on Tuesday while speaking to the media at his summer football camp in Southlake, Texas. Evidently much ado about not much. "Literally, it's absolutely nothing," Dak said. "People are reaching, trying to make things that they aren't. I'm getting older and have to take care of my body, have to be smart. If I can take precautions and lessen something by putting on a boot, I'll do it. Sorry that I caused such a worry." Totally understand where he's coming from about this tendonitis thing occurring four years, too, after my Achilles surgery. Plus, the getting older thing.
  • Point Of Contention: The Tuesday passing of Clint Murchison III at the age of 77, the eldest of late Cowboys original owner Clint Murchison Jr.'s four children, served as a reminder of something remiss. Why the heck hasn't Clint Murchison Jr. ever received serious Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration? Look, if not for Clint, who knows if the Cowboys ever would have come into existence, and for sure not as soon as 1960 when the franchise was born. And certainly not even then since Washington owner George Preston Marshall was vitriolically against Dallas being granted a franchise. Ah, but leave it to that rascal Clint. He cleverly bought the rights to "Hail To The Redskins," the lyrics written by Marshall's wife, claiming to be her favorite song, and told the Washington owner he'd give him the rights to the song to continue playing at games in exchange for his vote to approve a franchise being granted in Dallas. Yep, the start of the long-standing rivalry.
  • Sobering Thought: The Houston Texans, after erupting for a 10-7 record under new head coach DeMeco Ryans and a first-round playoff victory over Cleveland, is causing flattering preseason predictions to swell. But Ryans warns, "People talk about how exciting of a year it was, but I throw up a stat to our guys this offseason, like, 'Look, I know we won some games, but guys, look, we had 10 games within one score, and these games were down to the wire and we had to find a way at the end.' That doesn't change." The head coach is taking nothing for granted knowing the Texans went 7-3 in one-score games.
  • Good Timing: The Cowboys have two outdoor practice fields here at The Star, one plush grass and the other artificial turf. Well, the artificial turf over these past eight years has deteriorated and is being replaced. In fact, saw on Monday the artificial turf being scalped up with a new one scheduled to be installed by the time the Cowboys return from training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Aug. 23.
  • Six Pack: The Cowboys defense in 2023 matched the single-season franchise record established in 2021 with another six returns for touchdowns, five of those belonging to cornerback DaRon Bland, who led the team with nine interceptions. Now this was in 17 games, but all six of those defensive touchdown returns occurred in the first 11 games. The previous record of five was first established in 1968, then matched in 1983, 1999 and 2013, ironically when the Cowboys had the 32nd ranked defense, giving up a franchise opponent record 6,615 yards.
  • Time To Move: With training camp just two weeks away, don't be surprised if there is some glacier movement on contracts, something that normally happens when front office and players are getting together, especially with CeeDee Lamb. Just be reassured the Cowboys are willing to get this done, but can't be put in the position over these next two years of having three players being paid the highest at their NFL positions and still having enough cap space to put players around the likes of Dak, CeeDee and Micah Parsons.

So having said that, for this week's last word, well, well, seems as though at least one other NFL owner is coming around to the Cowboys' way of thinking about free agency. That it's not this instant elixir to build a team around by signing high-priced players other teams didn't see fit to keep.

This philosophy is something Cowboys COO Stephen Jones has instilled in the organization and head coach Mike McCarthy has embraced, adhering to draft and develop.

Thought you'd like to hear from Jacksonville owner Shad Khan since the Jaguars have spent heavily in free agency with an excess of cap space available these past couple years, and have posted consecutive 9-8 seasons, their first consecutive winning seasons since 2004 (9-7) and 2005 (12-4). Kahn threw up the caution flag over continuing to go down this rabbit hole, especially when these big contracts kick in and then having to re-sign quarterback Trevor Lawrence to a five-year deal averaging $55 million a year.

"I think there's a sea change for us – and this is for our coaching, that they have to develop young players," Khan said last week. "Our solution isn't going to be we're going to be signing free agents every year. We don't have the ability. Bottom line is that young talent has to be developed. The coaching, the coaching staff, their priorities have to change. Their mindset has to change. That's where we're going to get our future players.

"We cannot have this addiction to free agents."

Imagine that. Especially rammed home when having to pay dearly for a quarterback.

The bucks must stop here.

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