Most important Dallas Cowboys star in playoffs vs 49ers
By Rob Leeds
Dak Prescott drives the hopes for the Cowboys in the playoffs.
Say what you want about the Cowboys and the playoffs, but there is no player more important to the team and playoff success than Dak Prescott.
While the vast majority of the football world is saying things like “establish the run” and “play good defense” as the keys to winning this playoff contest against the 49ers, it all pales in comparison to how Prescott plays.
No one on the field is more important than the quarterback in the modern NFL. Fans can stand up on tables and beat their chests talking about Aaron Donald being the best player in the NFL or the need for a great running back, but there is a reason why players like Donald don’t win league MVP.
The greatest defensive player in the league can’t hold a candle from an impact standpoint to what quarterbacks bring to the table, and the Cowboys and Kellen Moore need to remember this.
Dak Prescott’s impact goes beyond anyone else on the Cowboys
Dallas is at its best offensively when Dak is throwing the ball early and often. Look back at one of Dallas’ best showings of the season in Week 1 versus the Buccaneers. Sure, there wasn’t much of a run game, but the quick passes to the flats and screens served as a viable extension of the run game that had the Cowboys within one decision away from a win against the defending champs.
Then, as people called for the Cowboys to go back to establishing the run and leaning on their identity from the past, the results started to slip. The offense lost its shine as the most important player on the team stopped being the focal point, and Dak has proven that he steps up against the best competition.
It isn’t the 1990s anymore. Games aren’t won through a hard-nosed running game that burns 40 minutes off the clock. This may be even harder for Cowboys fans to accept, given their history with some of the best running backs in league history, but it is the cold hard truth.
If Dallas wants to beat the scrappy 49ers, Dak needs to throw the ball early and often. Don’t run the ball into an extremely talented front-seven just for the sake of saying that you tried. The 49ers are more than fine to play the long game and hope for a field goal to win the game, but this can’t be the mentality for Kellen Moore.
The obvious game plan to earn the first playoff win in several years is scoring points with Dak and waiting for Jimmy Garoppolo to make mistakes. Anything otherwise that starts with an Ezekiel Elliott-focused ground game is absolutely inexcusable.
The Cowboys saw how important Dak was to team success last season. Don’t make the mistake of limiting his impact in the most important game in years.