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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Despite devastating loss, Prescott and Cowboys will be among NFC’s elite for years to come

By Matthew Coller

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t win on Sunday, but their 15-point comeback in the fourth quarter and game-tying drive with under a minute left sent a pretty clear message to the NFC: Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are far from a one-hit wonder.

With Dallas down 28-13 in the third quarter, Twitter was calling for the Cowboys to make the switch to Tony Romo. Apparently many out there still didn’t know about Prescott’s poise.

They doubted a quarterback who took his college team from irrelevant to No. 1 in the country at one point. A quarterback who went from fourth-round pick to the starting quarterback of the NFL’s most scrutinized franchise and posted 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions in the regular season. They questioned a rookie who handled playing underneath the shadow of Romo, and for that matter, Jerry Jones, too.

Bad choice. After an Aaron Rodgers interception late in the third quarter, Prescott did exactly what he’s done all year: Ignored the pressure and scored points.

The Cowboys’ comeback began with a 10-play, 58-yard touchdown drive which included a conversion on 3rd-and-14 at the Green Bay 21-yard line.

A Packers punt set Prescott up at the 20, needed 80 yards and a two-point conversion to tied the game at 28. That’s exactly what he did.

He hit Dez Bryant for 15 to open the drive, then after back-to-back Ezekiel Elliott runs, Prescott pushed Dallas into Green Bay territory with a pass to Jason Witten. Inside the 10, he found Bryant again, this time on a lob pass where only his receiver could grab it. Then the former Mississippi State quarterback, who ran for six touchdowns this season, took it upon himself to convert the two-point try.

Prescott wasn’t done. A Packers field goal put Dallas down again, but the rookie quarterback hit three passes in a row to set up the tying field goal.

Unfortunately for Prescott, his only mistake was leaving too much time for the greatest (or second greatest?) quarterback of a generation. Rodgers – and kicker Mason Crosby – had the last laugh, but Prescott quieted any remaining crowd that was hinting Romo could start again someday in Big D.

Now that Prescott has a top-notch season as a starter and proved his playoff worth, the Cowboys’ window to win looks like Pittsburgh’s did when Ben Roethlisberger went 15-1 in his rookie year, but lost in the playoffs.

It isn’t just Prescott that makes Dallas the team of the future, it’s Elliott, who dropped 125 yards at 5.7 yards per carry in the loss to the Packers. He is already a top-3 all-around running back. And if runners start to fade at age 27, well, then he has six more years of greatness. Top receiver Dez Bryant isn’t going anywhere.

Neither is the Cowboys’ all-time great offensive line. Left tackle Tyron Smith is under contract until 2024, so is center Travis Frederick. Guard Zack Martin is 24 years old and the Cowboys even have a succession plan for 32-year-old Doug Free with former LSU tackle La’el Collins.

Dallas will focus their efforts on finding the next great tight end to replace Witten and improving their defense, which gave up the ninth highest quarterback rating against this season and second highest completion percentage against.

But as we’ve seen in these playoffs, having a great offense is much more repeatable from year to year than great defense. And the Cowboys are going to have one of the league’s great offenses for a long, long time.

The post Despite devastating loss, Prescott and Cowboys will be among NFC’s elite for years to come appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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