Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tony Gutierrez/AP/Shutterstock (13488843z) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott looks downfield during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, in Arlington, Texas Lions Cowboys Football, Arlington, United States – 23 Oct 2022
One game was all it took to ruin those feel-good moments that Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott created in the second half of the Cowboys’ 24-6 win over the Lions in Week 7 and their 49-29 win over the Bears two weeks ago.
In just eight quarters back from thumb surgery, his performance against Chicago was, by far, the best game of his truncated season.
But that was then, and this is now. This is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ world we live in, and the NFL is no different.
Sunday’s roller-coaster performance against the Packers is one seen around these parts too often.
It’s something that is becoming more of a game-by-game pattern for Prescott.
Dak wasted little time on Sunday, turning the fans’ two-week joyride into a multi-car pileup.
It took all of three and a half hours on Sunday to ruin the feelings that came along with a near-flawless performance for your team’s franchise quarterback. Just 14 days ago at AT&T Stadium, Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns while carving up the Bears from the opening kickoff.
He delivered four touchdowns on the first four drives of the game. A performance fans had waited for since Prescott signed his four-year contract worth $160 million in 2021.
That win over Chicago was the last time fans saw Prescott on the field before Sunday’s lackluster afternoon against Green Bay, and to say he made an impression is an understatement. He had his way with the Bears’ pass defense.
Now, after a bye week and ready to build on that performance, Prescott returned rested and over two months removed from having surgery on his throwing hand the night of their Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys took the opening kickoff and looked stuck in neutral.
The version of Prescott fans have grown accustomed to seeing over the last couple of years showed up at Lambeau Field on Sunday and never left.
From that very first series, where he missed an open Tony Pollard in the right flat on second down, followed up by a ball that bounced at the feet of Michael Gallup on third down, Prescott’s incompletions were overthrows, underthrows and throws behind receivers running open routes.
And it’s not like he was under duress all afternoon from the Packers, who finished with two coverage sacks. No, many of his inaccurate passes came on plays where he had plenty of time to make an on-target throw.
During Sunday’s loss, Prescott missed his top pass-catching targets on multiple throws. He was off target to CeeDee Lamb four times, Michael Gallup and Tony Pollard three times each, and Dalton Schultz and Noah Brown twice each. The Packers were credited with just six passes defended in the game out of 19 Prescott incompletions. Not all 13 were bad passes; no, the Cowboys receivers did drop a couple.
But that leaves 10 passes that were not on target.
Not good enough, especially for a team that believes they are Super Bowl contenders.
All that said, there is no time to dwell on the mistakes that cost them in Green Bay. Nope, they finish up their run through the NFC North with a trip to Minnesota in six days to take on the red-hot 8-1 Vikings.
Getting it figured out by Sunday could mean the difference between 7-3 and back in the hunt for the NFC title or 6-4 and fighting to stay in the race for a playoff spot.