Dallas Cowboys: Even in defeat, Dak Prescott proves health and eliteness

Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Dallas Cowboys had everything to prove on the first Thursday Night Football game of the 2021-22 Season and the very first game of the year. They did that too, even in defeat. Also and though in a losing effort, there were other proclamations made and by the most important man in the building for the Cowboys.

Coming off the lower-leg injury that caused him to miss most of last season and the two surgeries to repair it that followed, Dak Prescott came into the game and proved that he’s not only healthy again but also, surely, elite.

Going toe to toe with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Prescott showed what many fans and spectators have known for some time. Prescott was a good quarterback for the Cowboys, that was working his way towards becoming elite.

The Dallas Cowboys showed up. Dak Prescott did too, in a healthy and elite way.

It was all playing out in real-time on opening night. He made the right calls, the right reads, the right decisions, and then made the throws. He put the ball in optimal spaces and also fit it into some pretty tight windows.

There was the one throw to CeeDee Lamb that many questioned, however, if a team is going to win titles, beat the GOAT in Tom Brady, and when the team he just so happens to be leading are the defending Super Bowl champs, you have to make and convert throws like that sometimes.

Lamb has to be better there and help his quarterback out, as Prescott put it right on him. That was the third sure catch that Lamb had dropped and though he started to redeem himself throughout the night, he has to be better moving forward because that’s just not the guy he showed to be last season.

The decision can be questioned by Prescott, but Brady made throws and plays like that all night, while his receivers paid it off in the form of catching them. As mentioned though, going toe to toe with the GOAT, Prescott would outplay him in the first half.

The final stats were about even too, as though Brady finished with more touchdown passes, Dak finished with better all-around numbers in most all other areas. Brady finished with 379 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 97 quarterback rating, on the head, while Dak finished with 403 yards, three touchdowns, one pick, and a 101.4 rating.

It was really a dueling of two “great quarterbacks”, as NBC call guy, Cris Collinsworth, put it after the game was done. Listen, Greg Zuerlein, who’s coming off back surgery and did redeem himself with the final field goal, could have sealed the deal on this one for Dallas, in theory.

That didn’t happen though. Who is also to say it would have played out the same if he had? There is also the fact that it’s freaking Tom Brady! Sometimes, you have to tip your cap and scheme towards the next matchup, hoping you can beat it next time.

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That’s especially when they’ve played a game as good as they played on Thursday. The defense is better, the offense is loaded, and a host of other things need digging into, but Dak Prescott is the first big takeaway. He’s back. He’s elite. And for as much as it hurt a lot of people out there to see it, it’ll just have to hurt that much more to finally come to terms with it. It’s real… and so is he.