clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dak Prescott has entered Russell Wilson’s pressure-filled world, and the results have been ugly

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I’m a fan of Dak Prescott, and I’m not the only writer on Field Gulls who is willing to overlook the fact that he’s on the Dallas Cowboys and still enjoy watching him play. After a great first-half of his sophomore campaign, Dak has had an absolutely nightmarish last two weeks. Pundits may point to the lack of Ezekiel Elliott’s services, but the primary source of Prescott’s woes is the state of his offensive line.

As Seahawks fans know all too well, there are some Russell Wilson-esque qualities to Prescott’s style of quarterbacking, but unlike Wilson, Prescott has had the luxury of an incredible offensive line from the first snap of his career. Tyron Smith is the best left tackle in the NFL, Travis Frederick is arguably the best center in the league, and Zack Martin is a two-time First-team All-Pro right guard.

Smith missed last week’s 27-7 blowout vs. Atlanta due to injury, and backups Chaz Green and Byron Bell were completely inept in pass protection. Prescott entered the Falcons game having been sacked just ten times all season, and Atlanta got to him on eight occasions, including six just from Adrian Clayborn himself.

Against the Philadelphia Eagles, with Smith once again ruled out, Prescott wasn’t under siege as much, but he was still was sacked four times and intercepted three times. He finished the 37-9 blowout a dismal 18/31 for 145 yards, a career-high four turnovers (he suffered a lost fumble for a touchdown in the final quarter), and an unsightly 11.5 QBR. It’s by far the worst outing he’s managed in his young career, and over the past 120 minutes of game time, Prescott is 38/61 for 321 yards (5.2 YPA), 1 rush TD, 0 passing TDs, 6 turnovers (3 INTs, 3 fumbles), and an unfathomable 12 sacks.

I won’t pretend that Elliott’s suspension isn’t detrimental to Dallas, but Chaz Green and Byron Bell are basically the left tackle equivalents of Steven Terrell at free safety.

You can definitely excuse Prescott for the Falcons loss, but on Sunday night at home against a division rival, he was uncharacteristically inaccurate and forcing poor throws even without pressure. Dak looked totally unrecognizable from his incredible rookie season, and the Cowboys are in deep trouble. Smith will try to make it back for the Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, who’ve got Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as their top pass-rushers.

From a Seahawks perspective, Prescott’s struggles make you really appreciate what Russell Wilson has accomplished year after year behind routinely mediocre-to-downright rotten pass protection, and he’s not had a credible running game since 2015. Even Wilson’s bad days have seldom looked like Prescott’s dud against Philly, and this season the Cowboys have lost three games by double digits, which is as many as the Seahawks have suffered in Wilson’s entire career (playoffs included).

This was a game the Cowboys essentially had to win to stay alive in the NFC East race, and Prescott was one of many Dallas players who was absolutely humiliated. As things stand, that highly-anticipated Christmas Eve matchup between Wilson and Dak at AT&T Stadium will almost certainly have playoff implications only for the Seahawks.