The low points have been beneath 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 looks good on a stat sheet, but the Cowboys were already down, 28-10, midway through the third quarter when he threw the first one. What was truly brutal is their offense gained only 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 eye-popping 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 has been Prescott’s play. Since the Cowboys’ Week 7 bye, their offense has been piling up the points. They have scored 40-plus points in two of their last three games. In all of those games, Prescott has 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 counting his rough performance against the 49ers, Prescott has been playing MVP-level football all season. In a season in which no player has established himself as the clear-cut 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 only two behind league leaders Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa. He has thrown fewer interceptions than Allen, Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, while still totaling the seventh most passing yards in the league.
Of the many criticisms Prescott has received throughout his career, one is that he only plays well with a clean pocket. Whenever Tyron Smith is out or the Cowboys’ offensive line is not performing like a Tier 1 unit, his effectiveness as a passer significantly decreases. But, according to Pro Football Focus data, the quarterback who has performed the best while under pressure this season has been Prescott. If you don’t want to believe the data, go look at that 37- yard pass he completed to Brandin Cooks while getting drilled right in the chest by Dexter Lawrence.
There is no avoiding the crimson stain on the Cowboys’ record of that 42-10 loss to the 49ers. However, looking at their performance since that beatdown I am inclined to believe that performance was more indicative of a bad day at the office than an indicator of things to come.
Prescott is playing some of the best football of his career, and over the last three weeks, no quarterback has been better. He is using 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.
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