When you think “Dak Prescott,” you don’t normally follow with “goal-line vulture.” Maybe you should.
In a truly mind-bending quantitation, Pro Football Focus determined that the Dallas Cowboys quarterback has the fourth-highest rushing grade (73.7) in goal-to-go situation since 2015.
Only Green Bay’s Aaron Jones (82.5), Indianapolis’ Marlon Mack (76.5), and former Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch (75.6) — all running backs — graded out better than Prescott over this span.
Highest rushing grades in goal to go situations since 2015:
1. Aaron Jones – 82.5
2. Marlon Mack – 76.5
3. Marshawn Lynch – 75.6
4. Dak Prescott – 73.7 pic.twitter.com/nDmU8VZFM4
— PFF (@PFF) June 28, 2020
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Dak Does Damage With his Legs
One would never confuse Prescott for Lamar Jackson or Russell Wilson, two of the best scrambling signal-callers in the game, but there’s a degree of underrated-ness to his rushing ability. Prescott has totaled 21 scores on the ground across four seasons as Dallas’ starter; he notched six rushing TDs in each of his first three years.
He’s averaged 5.1 yards per carry on 241 career totes, 94 of which have resulted in first downs. Dak broke off his longest run yet in 2019, stiff-arming Redskins cornerback Josh Norman en route to a 42-yard gain during the Cowboys’ Week 2 win.
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) September 15, 2019
Prescott’s rushing TDs were halved (three) last season, crossing the pylon against the Eagles, Jets and Dolphins, but he accounted for 19 first downs and registered a career-high two scampers of 20-plus yards.
Of course, this paled in comparison to his passing numbers: 4,902 yards (one shy of tying the single-season team record) and 30 air TDs. He added a personal-best 388 completions, 8.2 yards-per-average, and 68 completions of 20-plus yards. His 65.1-percent completion rate and 99.7 passer rating were the second-highest of his starting tenure.
Prescott Graded Out As Top-5 NFL QB in 2019
Much of the criticism that Prescott receives is centered around his perceived inability to conquer elite NFL competition. But a deeper dive into his play reveals a wholly different narrative.
According to a metric by Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys’ franchise QB ranked as the fifth-best passer against playoff teams in 2019, finishing with a cumulative grade of 77.4.
Only Houston’s Deshaun Watson (84.5), Seattle’s Russell Wilson (81.0), Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill (80.8), and Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes (79.6) graded out better than Prescott, who turned in a career season despite Dallas posting an 8-8, non-playoff record.
The Cowboys met six clubs that qualified for the postseason: the Eagles, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, and Minnesota Vikings. They split with Philly but lost to each of the aforementioned foes, often in disappointing fashion.
But Prescott was particularly masterful, from a statistical standpoint, in many of these defeats. He threw for a whopping 463 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers, 355 yards and two TDs against the Bills, and 397 yards and three scores against the Vikings, registering a 101.4 QB rating in the latter contest.
In the interest of fairness, Prescott was far from perfect last year — the Eagles (Week 16), Saints, and Patriots all held him out of the end zone — and the losses ultimately fell at his feet as the team’s leader. Some condemnation is warranted. Some. (The defense was mostly subpar and the coaching unquestionably lacking.)
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL