If there was any doubt that the Dallas Cowboys must stick with rookie sensation Dak Prescott as their starter at quarterback, it was erased Sunday night.
Prescott was not at his best against the Philadelphia Eagles. Nowhere close to it. He threw an interception in the end zone. He missed wide receiver Dez Bryant for what should have been an easy touchdown throw.
But when crunch time arrived and the Cowboys needed it most, Prescott delivered. He threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Bryant late in regulation to send the game into overtime. And then he threw a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten in overtime to give the Cowboys a 29-23 triumph.
“I saw a wide-open Witten, just doing exactly what he does and getting open,” Prescott said in an on-field postgame interview with NBC. “That was a great way to get our first one together.”
The Cowboys, with Prescott starting in place of Tony Romo, are on a six-game winning streak and have a record of 6-1. Prescott won his rookie-quarterback duel with the Eagles’ Carson Wentz. He has been a special player on what could be shaping up as a special team. There is simply no tinkering with that.
“Winners are guys who get the job done even when they aren’t at their best,” former Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy said on NBC after the game. “That was Dak Prescott tonight.”
Indeed it was.
It would be football malpractice at this point for the Cowboys to even consider going back to Romo.
Romo, working his way back from the compression fracture of a vertebra in his back that he suffered during the preseason, did some practice-field throwing last week. There is no indication that he is on the verge of being able to play in a game anytime particularly soon. But he could become an option sometime in the coming weeks. It’s an option the Cowboys should ignore as long as they and Prescott are playing like this.
The Cowboys have something potentially great going with Prescott. They are quite possibly the best team in the NFC at the moment.
“You can’t say enough great things about the young man,” Witten told NBC. “He just came in since Day 1 and really just embraced this role. Going into this opportunity, he’s taking full advantage of it. That’s a good defense we went against. We just kept grinding. We stayed with it [and] as a group made some big plays when we needed him to.”
Romo has been a very good player for the Cowboys for quite some time. He was an MVP-caliber quarterback as recently as the 2014 season. But he has played in only four games since the start of last season. His latest injury gave Prescott a chance. And Prescott has established himself not only as the Cowboys’ quarterback of the future, but also as their quarterback of the present. It’s not as if they could play better with Romo at quarterback.
“We just take it one play at a time,” Prescott said. “We knew the defense was gonna make stops to give us an opportunity to get back in it. And they did exactly that. The defense won this game. And it was a great one.”