10:24 AM ET
Todd ArcherESPN Staff Writer
- Covered NFL since 1997, Cowboys since 2003
- Previously covered Bengals and Dolphins
- Lives successful Dallas country with his woman and 2 children
TAMPA, Fla. -- As Dak Prescott jogged disconnected the Raymond James Stadium tract Monday, determination was nary large exuberant cheer by the quarterback. He simply waved to the Dallas Cowboys fans crowding the passageway to the locker country and casually tossed his chapeau into the stands.
Prescott was acting similar what helium conscionable accomplished successful the Cowboys’ 31-14 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was nary large deal.
Except it was a large deal.
Eight days earlier against the Washington Commanders, Prescott had what mightiness person been the worst crippled of his career. He completed conscionable 14 of 37 passes for 128 yards successful a 26-6 loss. He was intercepted for the seventh consecutive crippled and had a pick-six for the 3rd clip successful 4 games.
On Monday, Prescott had a crippled for the ages.
He threw for 305 yards, completing 25 of 33 passes with 4 touchdown passes and, possibly much importantly, helium was not intercepted. He besides ran for a touchdown.
“I got distant from the mode I play this game,” Prescott said of his Week 18 performance. “I got greedy, tried to conscionable unit immoderate throws, tried to instrumentality the large ones -- and that’s not who I’ve been passim my career; taking what they springiness me, waiting connected the large shot. I deliberation it was uncharacteristic. ... But I wiped that cleanable and I knew what this crippled meant. I knew however important it was for us.”
How bully was helium against the Buccaneers?
“I mean, arsenic bully arsenic I’ve seen,” manager Mike McCarthy said. “That’s for sure.”
McCarthy coached Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl with Rodgers.
How bully was Prescott? He joined Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach arsenic the lone Cowboys quarterbacks with 4 touchdown passes successful a playoff game. Like Prescott, Aikman’s besides came without an interception successful his Super Bowl XXVII show against the Buffalo Bills. Staubach’s came successful the 1975 NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams.
“I tin uncertainty with the champion of them, and Dak didn’t successful presumption of his play erstwhile it counted. And we ought to each physique from a truly -- I would accidental this without exaggeration: that was a large performance,” proprietor and wide manager Jerry Jones said. “That’s however you assistance astatine that position. That’s however you assistance make a title squad close there. Because it was each against him ... and had a large subordinate connected the different broadside of the shot astatine his presumption [Tom Brady] and came retired determination and played astatine that peculiar level.”
Prescott outplayed Brady, who threw for 351 yards but needed 66 walk attempts and 35 completions to get there. Brady had 2 touchdown passes but was intercepted successful the 2nd quarter.
Coming disconnected that interception, Prescott directed the Cowboys connected a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. He completed each 5 of his passes to a antithetic player: RB Ezekiel Elliott (9 yards), WR Michael Gallup (4 yards), RB Tony Pollard (5 yards), WR T.Y. Hilton (14 yards), TE Jake Ferguson (34 yards).
He ended the thrust with a 1-yard bootleg that upped the Cowboys' pb to 12-0.
“He was unreal,” All-Pro close defender Zack Martin said. “I mean similar each clip we gave him capable time, helium was making plays … No surprise. Obviously, being the backmost here, helium gets talked astir much than anyone, but the feline conscionable keeps coming back, you know?”
Prescott acceptable a Cowboys postseason grounds with 11 consecutive completions aft missing connected his archetypal 3 passes of the game. He is the 5th subordinate with 4 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown successful NFL postseason past and the archetypal since Matt Ryan successful the 2016 NFC Championship Game. By the way, McCarthy saw Rodgers bash the aforesaid successful the 2009 wild-card round.
Prescott became the 2nd subordinate successful NFL postseason past with 4 touchdown passes and a rushing people portion completing 75% of his passes successful a game, joining Peyton Manning (2004 wild-card circular against the Denver Broncos).
His 96.5 Total QBR was the 3rd highest by a starting backmost successful a wild-card crippled since 2006.
“Dak showed that he’s a warrior,” wide receiver CeeDee Lamb said. “He’s a baller, and helium came retired slinging it. I consciousness similar it was a connection crippled for him.”