A week after a befuddling loss to the Broncos, Dak Prescott — the NFL’s highest-paid player for 2021 — came back on Sunday with a vengeance for the Cowboys.
The Dallas Cowboys scored a franchise-record 29 points in the second quarter on Sunday, en route to a 43-3 road domination of the Atlanta Falcons. Naturally, Dak Prescott was the reason why. He threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns, running for another score in a win that came just one week after a disappointing loss to the Broncos.
“Last week just wasn’t us,” Prescott said. “Everybody in our locker room knows that. It left a bad taste in our mouth. I think it’s a taste we needed in a sense to understand how tough this game is.”
Dallas didn’t score until the fourth quarter in the 30-16 home loss to Denver, a game in which Prescott completed under 50% of his passes after missing a week due to a calf injury. But the 28-year-old signal-caller set the tone early this week, throwing an opening-drive TD toss to CeeDee Lamb before adding another one with 70 seconds left in the first half to go up 28-3. A punt block return for a touchdown with 37 seconds left extended the lead to 36-3 after Ezekiel Elliott followed up his two TD half with a two-point conversion run.
It was the Cowboys’ largest halftime lead since 1971, which allowed Prescott to sit the fourth quarter, knowing his team was back on track.
“He looked like a different guy this week,” NBC’s Chris Simms said. “He was on the money with decisions and ball placement.”
It was the 17th game of Prescott’s career with both a passing and rushing touchdown. Only Daunte Culpepper, Josh Allen, and the newly resurgent Cam Newton have more over their first six seasons. He also joins Newton and Culpepper as the only players with at least 125 TD passes and 25 rushing TDs over their first six seasons. Not bad for a player returning from a season-ending ankle injury last year.
And based on his play on the field, that commitment is proving to be a shrewd investment.
Dak’s 20 TD passes are fourth in the league. And among QBs with 200 pass attempts this season, he’s second only to Matthew Stafford with a 110.8 passer rating; second to Stafford with 42% of his completions going for first downs; second to Kyler Murray with a 70.3 completion percentage; and he’s fifth in the league with 8.2 yards per pass attempt.
Now back in the swing of things, Prescott’s next opponent may be his most daunting one, with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs hosting Dallas in the premier matchup of Week 11.
Through nine games, Prescott is proving that he belongs among the best quarterbacks in the league, duly earning the huge contract he received earlier this year.