Dak Prescott, speaking in his post-game press conference following Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, was given multiple chances to criticize his coaches for their highly questionable play selection in the NFC showdown.
The Dallas Cowboys‘ franchise quarterback declined. Again and again. Prescott fell on the sword rather than used it to attack head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
He was peeved after the 28-24 heartbreaker, which dropped Dallas to 5-4, but his rage was directed at those critiquing Ezekiel Elliott, the play-calling, the coaching … anything. He rationalized the now-newsworthy doomed fourth-quarter drive — two stuffed Elliott runs and an incomplete pass to the NFL’s richest running back — as an attempt at strategy, smearing fire-red lipstick on the proverbial Dallas pig.
“You’ve got to go back and look at the situation, right?” Prescott said, via NFL.com. “You don’t want to leave too much time on the clock for them. I’m not going to question the play-calling. There were opportunities. We’ve just got to do better and execute those plays, simple as that. Every guy in that locker room would say that.”
The scenario: Second-and-2 from Minnesota’s 11-yard line. One minute and 33 seconds left. Down four.
Common logic screamed for the Cowboys to ride the arm of Prescott, who had his way with the league’s 18th-ranked secondary, logging 397 yards, three touchdowns and a Hail Mary interception on 28-of-46 passing, good for a 101.5 rating.
Inexplicably, however, Moore dialed up a head-scratching sequence involving Elliott, who went nowhere all night, managing 47 yards on 20 carries as the Vikings’ swarming defense brought him down often on first contact.
Dak was failed by his higher-ups, his superstar workhorse, and his supposedly elite offensive line. But he was consumed by how he failed Dallas on that penultimate possession, taking responsibility for not hitting Zeke on the fourth-down out route and completing a late comeback.
“If we get that first down, nobody in here is even talking about that they took the ball out of my hands. … We just have to execute those plays,” Prescott said, via The Athletic. “Those linemen would say that, the running back would say that, the whole team would say that.”
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
Jerry Jones Gives Ominous Quote on ‘Disappointing’ Loss
In the throes of the Cowboys‘ excruciating defeat to Minnesota, owner Jerry Jones saw what the thousands who packed AT&T Stadium and millions watching around the world witnessed.
Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, Garrett and/or Moore concocted their plan: Elliott run. Twice. Then a pass to Elliott — Elliott, and not, say, star wide receiver Amari Cooper, who tallied a game-high 147 yards on 11 receptions, one of which went for a gorgeous 25-yard, toe-tapping, end zone-scraping touchdown.
The coaching staff deviated completely from that magical duo to put the game in the hands of a non-factor. You can question why, theories that extend to Jerry personally ordering Zeke (Who?) be fed. But the result remains the same.
“It’s disappointing. Disappointing. We’ll have to pay for this one. Hopefully it won’t be terminal,” Jones said Sunday, per The Athletic.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL