How will the Dallas Cowboys cope with the tale of two Daks?

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys experienced first-hand, the ‘Tale of Two Dak Prescotts’

Dak Prescott was riding high after the wildcard win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on last Monday night. He had command of the offense for the majority of the game and looked a step ahead of Tampa’s defense the entire night. Unfortunately, like any coin there are two sides of it and the Dallas Cowboys quarterback showed everyone on primetime the other side of his coin.

Some Cowboy fans almost took the bait. While others refused to put hope in the seven-year quarterback until they saw a larger sample size or at least Dak against a more competitive opponent.

Well, the competitive opponent was there in the form of the San Francisco 49ers defense and Dak could not replicate his success from his head-to-head matchup with Tom Brady.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback saw his statistics take a nosedive.  Gone was the 153.7 QBR, 305 yards, 4 touchdowns passing and 1 rushing touchdown and, in its place, came a 68 QBR, 206 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. The most important stat line was the absence of interceptions in one game and the return of them in pairs in the Divisional round.

It wasn’t just the interceptions though. His ball placement and recognition were pretty bad. No, it was really bad. It continues to be an ugly trend that shows up when he plays a really good defense in pressure situations.

Exhibit A was the 2nd and 10 pass intended for Michael Gallup where he placed the ball widely on the outside toward the sideline rather than the in front of the receiver where it should have been. Michael Gallup would have probably still been running if that pass was accurately thrown. However, it wasn’t and that’s part of the reason the Cowboys are preparing for the long flight home to Dallas.

Exhibit B was the ball thrown that was completed for a big gain that was under thrown to CeeDee Lamb. Lamb would have probably hit his head on the goal post if the ball was placed in front of him rather than having to adjust for it.

Granted, there are times when defenders are in your face, and you don’t have much room to step into your throw. But in this case, there was a clean pocket and he still short armed the throw. Luckily, CeeDee made a spectacular grab and the adjustment on the ball caused the defender to interfere with him.

For a quarterback who has been in the league for seven years and in the same offense since 2015, there’s not many excuses that can be made for the interceptions he threw. He led the league in interceptions with 15 in 12 games. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade and this is one of those times.

His first interception was a combination of a poor route by Michael Gallup and Dak being late on his delivery of the football.

Typically, on a route to the sideline, your timing and anticipation has to be on point. If you hang the ball up there with a defender lurking and playing ten yards off, you are begging for that defender break on the ball and that’s exactly what happened.

The idea to get CeeDee involved in the gameplan was a solid idea. When Pollard went down with the lower leg injury, obviously CeeDee’s number was going to be dialed up much more. With that said, it is not too much to ask Dak to recognize when the defense is dropping back into a zone defense and when Fred Warner is anywhere in the vicinity.

They didn’t disguise their coverage. Both Warner and Jimmie Ward were clearly in coverage from the beginning of the play. Dak hit the trifecta on this throw – bad coverage read, bad ball placement and the interception.

Yes, Dak recorded two interceptions but there should have been two more, at least.

The first one was after the fumbled punt by San Francisco. He put too much on the pass to Ezekiel and the ball popped up and hung in the air way too long for Cowboy fans. Luckily, it landed harmlessly on the ground before any defender could get nearby.

The other almost interception was dropped by Dre Greenlaw near the end of the game that would have been a pick six prior to the 2:00 minute warning.  Two years ago, against the Washington Commanders, they were mounting a comeback ignited by an identical interception by linebacker Cole Holcomb for a touchdown. Unfortunately, I can’t make this stuff up.

Those turnovers were the difference in the game. By most accounts, the Dallas defense showed up and almost kept the 49ers out of the endzone the entire game. They were placed in short field situations and made multiple stops. The offense couldn’t get out of its own way, and it was led by the wrong Dak Prescott.

light. Related Story. Do the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott have and interception problem?

Let’s get the record straight. This message is about accountability not disparagement. No one is saying to get rid of Dak Prescott. However, the Dallas Cowboys will have to take a long hard look in the mirror and determine how you move forward. This year, Dak was never held accountable for his interceptions, and it came back to bite the team.

A 7th round rookie draft pick just outplayed a veteran and is heading to his first NFC championship game. Why? It’s probably because Kyle Shanahan is not afraid to draft and develop quarterbacks. You can never have enough talent at that position.

Dallas, you need to go back to the well. The Draft will be coming up again in April. You have Dak for at least one more season before you can do anything with his contract. Adding more talent at that position is not a terrible idea. You will at least have a plan in place if the wrong Dak shows up too much next season.