1674512664 Dak Prescotts unacceptable performance against the 49ers points to the

Dak Prescott’s ‘unacceptable’ performance against the 49ers points to the inconvenient truth

Dak Prescotts unacceptable performance against the 49ers points to the

Dak Prescott followed up with a game he will remember for the rest of his life, with a game he would forget just as quickly.

The Cowboys quarterback caught a bad day to have a bad day, catching just 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards and a lone 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 brings to light a troubling notion.

Cowboys fans watched the day of four touchdowns and 143.3 passes in Tampa last week and saw what Prescott is capable of when all the stars align.

But then…

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

The Cowboys’ record in those games: 2-16.

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

These are: last year’s wildcard loss to the 49ers, the 2022 season opener in Tampa, the 2022 season finale in Washington, and last Sunday’s division loss.

All four still hurt, they’re so fresh.

This all-too-recent story suggests that Dak’s Joker show was indeed the anomaly… and what we saw on Sunday was sadly closer to the inconvenient truth.

While Prescott only got a few days of last week’s surgical performance against Tampa Bay, this latest loss will last an entire offseason. The Cowboys were in the game until the very end, but they’ll be watching the conference championships from home again, just as they’ve done for the past 27 years.

“Those guys in that locker room gave it their all, both sides of the ball,” the quarterback told reporters from the podium Sunday night. “To put myself in a position to win the game and I couldn’t do that. I put it on my shoulders. If you play this position and play for this organization, you have to accept that. That’s the reality. it will make me better It sucks that I haven’t had a chance for so long.”

The story goes on

Most troubling for Prescott and Cowboys Nation, however, were the passer’s two interceptions, building on the theme that will live on as the main storyline of the team’s entire 2022 season.

“Just two pitches I can’t have, you can’t have ’em in the playoffs, you can’t have ’em trying to beat a team like this, you can’t have ’em on the street,” admitted Prescott. “There are no excuses for that. These two are 100 percent on me.”

The first came early and ended Dallas’ second offensive possession. Prescott fell behind on a third and nine, hurling one on the sideline toward Michael Gallup, not realizing that 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir had run the route even better than the Cowboys wide receiver.

That turnover gave San Francisco a prominent field position and resulted in an easy field goal and a first-quarter lead for the home team.

Prescott’s second choice proved even more expensive.

Prescott drove deep into 49ers territory late in the second quarter and attempted to force a throw from CeeDee Lamb through a very narrow window. Jimmie Ward fended him off and linebacker Fred Warner waited with open arms.

That error not only ended a scoring drive by the Cowboys, but allowed San Francisco to score another field goal before halftime. What should have been a seven-point lead for Dallas at the break was instead a 9-6 deficit.

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

But of course it wasn’t just Sunday night. Prescott’s picking problem in 2022 dates back to opening night when Tampa Bay safety Antoine Winfield Jr. jumped a Noah Brown route in Week 1 and caught a poor Prescott throw.

Prescott finished the regular season with 15 interceptions, which was the worst of his career. And that’s while sitting out five full games with a broken thumb.

Some of these sales are due to miscommunication by the recipient. Some were the result of a bad quarterback decision or just a bad throw. Some escaped unlucky.

But whatever the reason, they all mattered. They all followed Prescott over the course of a roller-coaster season. And after a wildcard week, they returned to Santa Clara on Sunday.

“They all have their own stories,” Prescott said. “Two tonight. Like I said, unacceptable. I can’t endanger the ball like that, whether they’re being tipped up on tight throws or being late on a stop route. Can not happen. The number it has reached is ridiculous. I can promise that number will never be the same again. I can promise that.”

The problem is that Prescott promised to eliminate the misfires for most of the season. And in a game where defense kept the powerhouse 49ers under 20 points, those final self-inflicted wounds helped prove fatal to the Cowboys’ postseason run.

“It is unacceptable that we only collect the points that we have made. And it starts with me. I need to get better. There is no other way to sugarcoat it.”

That’s the flavor the Cowboys — and Prescott in particular — will have in their mouths from now through the 2023 season.

Unfortunately, it’s more than a postseason problem, although the team’s 27-year absence from the conference championship round is seriously hurting the day after its elimination from the tournament.

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

“If I had had the answers, we would have won tonight,” he told the media. “But I promise you, we will. If I play for this organization in my time on this team, we will do that.”

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


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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire