Cowboys’ Dak Prescott comes up massive vs. Bucs, however greater problem awaits

After an evening wherein Dak Prescott supplied all the mandatory solutions and lots extra, there was just one query that popped to thoughts:

What’s greater than the largest?

Confused? Let’s clarify. Monday night time introduced in regards to the greatest efficiency of Prescott’s postseason profession, within the greatest recreation of his life, in opposition to the biggest-name rival quarterback of all of them, within the greatest present of proof to sway those that say his ability set is just not one of many NFL’s, properly, greatest.

However what comes subsequent for the Dallas Cowboys and their seventh-year quarterback? Even greater.

Prescott was moodily majestic at Raymond James Stadium, as Dallas strode defiantly to a 31-14 trouncing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and straight into an absolute humdinger on Sunday, a divisional spherical go to to the San Francisco 49ers (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX and the FOX Sports activities App).

Fueled maybe by every week wherein it was overtly questioned whether or not his playoff file of 1-3 coming in was an indicator of one thing missing, both by way of mentality or steeliness or technical prowess beneath strain, he architected a chic masterpiece, albeit one with a seemingly everlasting snarl etched on his face.

“I didn’t listen,” he informed ESPN postgame. “I simply just didn’t listen to anybody else’s opinions, anybody else’s thoughts. Made sure I was conscious of what I put in my own head. Just stayed focused on what I can do.”

In doing so, he reminded us that nobody dislikes the narrative of his and the Cowboys’ postseason issues — this was their first highway playoff win since 1993 — greater than him, and that he’s on a mission to do some critical historic rewriting.

Subsequent week, in opposition to a 49ers squad that’s resembling a juggernaut after 11 straight wins, can be a sterner and weightier check than Tom Brady and Tampa have been capable of present.

And but, if ever there was a time to face such a predicament for Prescott, it will be now, coming off a confidence enhance large sufficient to match the hype that may overwhelm the build-up to Sunday.

Make no mistake, San Francisco gained’t relish taking up Prescott in this sort of kind. Nobody would.

For this wasn’t the nervous teenager of six years in the past in opposition to Inexperienced Bay. Or the timid model that confirmed up in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. Or the inconsistent man who went to the bottom too late in opposition to the Niners a yr in the past and noticed time expire earlier than his eyes.

This was a bristling, assured, resolute efficiency, from a person who regarded like he sensed it was coming.

Prescott wished to be on the market, wished to be concerned, wished the duty, wished the gravity of the scenario. He must need the subsequent one simply as a lot. 

At occasions, it appeared like he was enjoying Monday’s recreation in gradual movement with everybody else at real-time velocity. He learn the strain, reacted immediately and sucked the life out of the Bucs’ resistance.

Ultimately, nothing else mattered. Not one of the preamble. Not the file that mentioned Brady was 7-0 lifetime in opposition to the Cowboys. Not the cooling of public opinion on Dallas within the wake of a stuttering finish to the marketing campaign. Not their shedding file on grass fields. And never Brett Maher’s swath of missed further factors.

Prescott was answerable for 5 touchdowns in complete, one in every of them from a delightfully disguised run, rolling to the left, plus scoring throws to Dalton Schultz (twice), CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. 

It wasn’t simply him and the offense, naturally, with the best way the Dallas D shut down Brady and his crew amounting to nothing lower than ruthless strangulation on that aspect of the ball.

Nonetheless, if the Cowboys are to show this marketing campaign into one thing near what they’re dreaming of, they’ll want their $40 million-a-year QB, the person whose massive deal set off the present run of comparable contracts for sign callers within the high third of the league at their place.

Prescott needs a loftier standing than that, and if he can shine when it issues, shine like this, then he’ll persuade many who’s a doable goal.

He needs the Cowboys to be on this place each time, not fleetingly. And amongst QBs he needs to be one of many massive canine. 

Or greater.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports activities and the creator of the FOX Sports activities Insider publication. Comply with him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the day by day publication.

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