The low points were under the asphalt for the Dallas Cowboys this season. That loss on national television to the San Francisco 49ers was ugly, and it was Dak Prescott at his worst. Three interceptions never look good on a stat sheet, but the Cowboys were down 28-10 midway through the third quarter when he threw the first one. What was truly brutal is that their offense only gained seven yards on their first four possessions.
Currently, the Cowboys are sixth in the NFC and appear to be a lock to make the playoffs. Their defense is one of the best in the NFL, with several standout performances. However, a look at the DVOA numbers shows that the Cowboys also have a top 10 offense.
The biggest reason for their offensive success was Prescott’s play. Since the Cowboys’ Week 7 bye, their offense has piled up the points. They have scored 40 plus points in two of their last three games. In all of those games, Prescott passed for more than 300 yards and at least three touchdowns. Since the bye, his 1,082 passing yards and 11 passing touchdowns are the best in the NFL.
Even with his rough performance against the 49ers, Prescott played MVP-level football all season. In a season in which no player has established himself as the clear favorite, he deserves the award as much as anyone.
Prescott is third in the NFL in Total QBR, first in completion percentage and fourth in yards per attempt. His 17 passing touchdowns are just two behind league leaders Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. He threw fewer interceptions than Allen, Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, while still averaging the seventh most passing yards in the league.
Among the many criticisms Prescott has received throughout his career is that he only plays well with a clean sack. When Tyron Smith is out or the Cowboys’ offensive line isn’t performing like a Tier 1 unit, his effectiveness as a passer drops significantly. But according to Pro Football Focus data, Prescott has been the quarterback who has performed the best while under pressure this season. If you don’t want to believe the data, check out that 37-yard pass he completed to Brandin Cooks while being drilled right in the chest by Dexter Lawrence.
The Cowboys still have eight games left, but they’ve already faced stiff defensive competition. They have the New York Jets and New England Patriots both with 20 plus points.
There is no escaping the crimson stain on the Cowboys’ record from that 42-10 loss to the 49ers. However, looking at their performances since that blowout, I’m inclined to believe that performance was more indicative of a bad day at the office than an indication of things to come.
Prescott is playing some of the best football of his career, and over the past three weeks, no quarterback has been better. He uses his legs to buy time and extend drives, putting the ball in the right spots and leading the Cowboys to massive point totals.
If he continues this type of play for the rest of the season, he should win league MVP.