The Dallas Cowboys could have clinched their spot in the postseason with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, but a comeback by the Jaguars turned what had looked like an easy win into an eventual overtime loss.
Even though Dallas was still able to punch its ticket to the playoffs Sunday night via the Washington Commanders’ loss to the New York Giants, concern has arisen regarding the performance of quarterback Dak Prescott in the loss and as of late. Despite recent turnover issues, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t feel Prescott needs to change his approach at all, and he wants his quarterback to keep his foot on the gas through the remainder of the season.
“Most importantly, he needs to keep firing, he needs to keep going,” McCarthy said. “Let’s make that clear. We’re not slowing down.”
Prescott threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns in the loss, but also had two interceptions. The first came in the second half and led to a Jaguars touchdown on their ensuing drive, and then he threw the game-ending interception in overtime when Jacksonville’s Rayshawn Jenkins snagged the ball out of the air after it bounced off the hands of Noah Brown, taking it to the end zone for a walk-off pick-six.
The interception issues aren’t a one-game development, as Prescott has seven INTs over the last four games, including two in last week’s almost-loss to the one-win Houston Texans. That puts his season TD-INT ratio at 17-11, the worst ratio of his career thus far.
Nonetheless, McCarthy believes Prescott played at an “extremely high level” on Sunday despite the turnovers, also mentioning that on that last throw he had placed the ball exactly where it needed to be.
“Just go watch the tape. You’ve gotta go deeper into the statistics. Statistics point in directions, highlight things, but sometimes they don’t tell the whole story,” McCarthy said
McCarthy’s confidence in Prescott is not surprising considering that up until this week the Cowboys have been winning with him under center, despite the turnovers. Since he returned from his hand injury in Week 7, Prescott has led Dallas to a 6-2 record, has 17 touchdown passes and has averaged 246 yards per game.
Prescott and his offense will have a chance to bounce back stronger this week when the Cowboys face off against the NFC’s top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles on Christmas Eve with a chance at exacting revenge for a loss to them earlier in the season. With more critical games left in the regular season and a guaranteed postseason spot coming after that, McCarthy has confirmed that he’ll continue to rely on his star QB’s ability to sling it, and they won’t be backing off.
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