Dak Prescott’s “unacceptable” performance against the 49ers points to an inconvenient truth

Dak Prescott followed up a game he would remember for the rest of his life with a game he would soon forget.

The Cowboys quarterback picked a bad day to have a bad day, passing 23 of 37 for just 206 yards and one touchdown in the team’s 19-12 loss to San Francisco in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

But beyond the obviously disappointing postseason exit, Prescott’s poor performance highlights a troubling idea.

Last week Cowboys fans watched a four touchdown, 143.3 passer rating day in Tampa and watched Ma Prescott able to do When all the stars align.

but after that …

Prescott’s passer rating of 63.6 last Sunday was the lowest of his six playoff totals, and it was the 18th time in his career that he finished a game with a rating below 70.0.

Cowboys record in those games: 2-16.

The worst thing? Four of those under-70 games have come in the Cowboys’ last 20 games.

They are: last year’s wild card loss against the 49ers, the 2022 season opener in Tampa, the 2022 season finale in Washington, and the team’s rout last Sunday.

The four still hurt, they’re so fresh.

This very recent history suggests that Duck’s runaway show was in fact an anomaly…and what we saw on Sunday was, sadly, closer to the inconvenient truth.

While Prescott enjoyed last week’s run-up against Tampa Bay for only a few days, this latest loss will stick around for a long time. The Cowboys were in the game until the very end, but they will once again see conference championships from home, just as they have for the past 27 years.

“Those guys in that locker room gave everything, both sides of the ball,” The quarterback told reporters from the podium Sunday night. “Put me in a position to win the game, and I wasn’t able to do that. I put it on my shoulder. When you play this position and you play for this organization, you have to accept that. That’s the truth of the matter. It’s going to make me better. It sucks that I didn’t get another shot.” her for a long time.”

More troubling for Prescott and the Cowboys Nation was the passer interception, based on a theme that will live on as the main story of the entire team’s 2022 season.

“Only two throws I can’t have,” Prescott admitted, “you can’t have them in the playoffs, you can’t have them when you’re trying to beat a team like that, you can’t play on the road.” “No excuses for that. Those two are 100 percent on me.”

The first came early, ending Dallas’ second offensive possession. Prescott dropped back on third and nine and threw a single towards Michael Gallup on the sideline, not realizing that 49ers cornerback Deodore Lenoir was running the track better than Cowboys wide receiver.

This turnover gave San Francisco advantage field position and led to an easy field goal and lead in the home team’s first quarter.

Prescott’s second choice proved more costly.

Driving deep into 49ers territory late in the second quarter, Prescott attempted to force a CeeDee Lamb through a very narrow window. Jimmy Ward deflected it, and linebacker Fred Warner was waiting with open arms.

Not only did the error end what appeared to be a scoring drive by the Cowboys, it allowed San Francisco to interfere on another field goal before halftime. What should have been a seven-point Dallas lead at the break was a 9-6 deficit.

“I have to play better than I did tonight, as simple as that,” said Prescott.

But of course, it wasn’t just Sunday night. Prescott’s 2022 pick problem dates back to Opening Night, when Tampa Bay safety Antoine Winfield Jr. jumped a Noah Brown run in Week 1 and threw a bad Prescott toss.

Prescott went on to finish the regular season with 15 interceptions, his career worst. And this is with him Sitting in for five full games Because of a broken thumb.

Some of these shifts came from a misunderstanding of the receiver. Some of it was a result of a bad quarterback decision or just a bad throw. Some came from unlucky rebounds.

But whatever the reason, they all counted. They’ve all chased down Prescott over the course of a rollercoaster season. And after a week-long hiatus, they’re back on Sunday in Santa Clara.

“They all have their own story,” Prescott said. “Two tonight. Like I said, not acceptable. I can’t put the ball in danger like that, whether it’s tipped on tight throws or whether I’m running late on a roadblock. It can’t happen. The number obtained is absurd. I can promise you that number will never be this way again. I can promise you that.”

The problem is, Prescott has been promising to clean up misfires for most of the season. And in a game when the defense held the 49ers to fewer than 20 points, those recent self-injuries helped prove fatal in the postseason cowboy race.

“For us to bring up the points we just did, that’s unacceptable. And it starts with me. I’ve got to be better. There’s no other way to sugarcoat it.”

This is the taste the Cowboys — and especially Prescott — will have in their mouth between now and the 2023 season.

Sadly, it’s more than just a postseason problem, though, as the team’s 27-year absence from the conference championship round stings today after being kicked out of the tournament.

Ultimately, Prescott says he doesn’t know why the club can’t seem to get over that hump.

“If I had the answers, we would have won tonight,” he told members of the media. “I promise, though. In my time, playing on this team, for this organization, we will.”

But not if Prescott can’t figure out why this keeps happening to him, with increasing and alarming frequency, playoffs or otherwise.


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The story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire

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