Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is lost without running mate Ezekiel Elliott. As the Robin to Zeke’s Batman, Prescott had the opportunity to step up and prove that he himself is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, and he has failed.
In the four games without Elliott, the Cowboys are 1-3 and have almost fallen out of playoff contention. The absence of one of the top three best running backs in football has led to Prescott throwing two touchdowns, five interceptions, and has not topped more than 180 yards passing in those games. On the ground, he had a big game against the Falcons rushing for 42 yards on six carries and also scoring a touchdown. He has not scored or rushed for over 30 yards in a game since.
Prescott needs Elliott more than Elliott needs Prescott. Prescott has never been a strong passer and the evidence speaks for itself. The Cowboys quarterback’s tendency to not push the ball downfield has shown. Out of every starting quarterback who has played more than 10 games, only Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, Cam Newton, Deshone Kizer, and Joe Flacco have had more games of not completing a pass over 40 yards. The former Mississippi State Bulldog ranks 24th in yards per pass attempt, 28th in passing yards per game, and 20th in total passing yards. Dak also ranks 18th in passing attempts per game and 16th in completion percentage, which are middle of the pack numbers.
Without Elliott, Prescott has had 30 or more passing attempts in a game two out of four times, which is 50 percent. Well, what about when both Dak and Ezekiel play? He has had five out of his eight games, which goes for 62.5 percent. He actually has thrown more with Elliott in the lineup (and leading in much of those games) than when Elliott is out and trailing.
You would figure more of the offensive weight would fall on Prescott’s shoulders, but it has not. He has been carried by his team’s rushing attack and star-studded offensive line, and it is more evident now than before with Elliott being suspended. With Zeke in the backfield, defenses cannot load up on Prescott and have to respect the run. Therefore, Dak is more effective by using play-action plays and has the ability to take off if the defense breaks down.
It isn’t only just passing where Prescott is overrated, but also on the ground. There are eight quarterbacks who have more rushing yards than Dak and 10 more quarterbacks with more rushing attempts. For a quarterback who analysts and fans claim is a dynamic two-way player, he doesn’t even come close to that. I would be more intrigued to see how quarterbacks like Tyrod Taylor, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, or Kirk Cousins would fair being plugged in with the same offensive weapons and offensive line around him. I think they would thrive more so than Prescott has.
The Dallas Cowboys have now seen life without Ezekiel Elliott. Any team that loses their most cherished offensive weapon is going to struggle, just ask the Cardinals without David Johnson, the Packers without Aaron Rodgers, the Colts without Andrew Luck, or the Giants without Odell Beckham Jr. You would figure that Dak would be the guy to step up, take charge, and for a team like the Cowboys, find more ways to win.
Rather, it has been former two-time pro-bowler and second team all-pro running back Alfred Morris leading the way having not started in a game yet where he has not rushed for at least four yards per carry on average. Morris and the defense got the total credit for beating Washington in Week 13, with Prescott doing very little to help his team win. Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant bailed Prescott out with a tremendous touchdown grab in the fourth quarter.
In a game that could have ruined the Cowboys season, the team stepped up to make big-time plays to stay in the playoff hunt. A loss would have ended the season for the Dallas Cowboys.
If they want a chance to get a spot as a Wild Card team in the postseason, Prescott has to play lights out for the remainder of the season, in which I don’t see that happening. Jerry Jones and “America’s team” will have to figure out another way how to reach the playoffs once again in the 2018-19 season.