The Los Angeles Rams went to Dallas in Week 15 of last season 8-5 and optimistic. They left beaten and dejected from a loss that may be the worst under Sean McVay were it not overshadowed from the 55-40 debacle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 45-6 against the Baltimore Ravens. Some may still argue that the loss to the Cowboys was even worse.
Tied 7-7 early in the second quarter, the game changed on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott that immediately softened the blow from Todd Gurley’s score moments earlier. Adding insult to insult, the recipient of the touchdown was former Rams disappointment Tavon Austin.
Two first half touchdowns from Ezekiel Elliott later and Dallas led 28-7 at the break, then 37-7 following three Kai Forbath field goals. Really, how much worse was this than 45-6? The Cowboys were two third-and-five conversions from potentially keeping Forbath off of the field and making the score even more lopsided.
Prescott finished 15-of-23 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He led Dallas to touchdowns on four of their five first half drives and eight of nine drives ended in a score for the Cowboys. Prescott has been a consistent quarterback throughout his first four seasons but 2019 was the pinnacle in many respects as he maintained a passer rating of nearly 100 even though he threw 596 attempts — 70 more than any of his previous seasons and almost 140 more than his rookie campaign — as well as a career-high 8.2 yards per attempt and while only taking 23 sacks.
In most respects, Prescott’s first four seasons are as good or better than Tony Romo’s first four seasons, and Romo started three years later in age. It was an obvious choice for the Cowboys to give Prescott the franchise tag this offseason once they realized they couldn’t come to a long-term agreement before he’d become a free agent, however the extra negotiation time didn’t help.
Prescott signed his franchise tag and he’ll play this season for $31.4 million. It is a lot of money, multitudes more than the total sum Prescott has been paid for four years on the rookie deal of a fourth round pick, but still a lot less than the $100 million or so guaranteed that he’d likely get on an extension.
Prescott, who finished first last season in DYAR, isn’t holding out or demanding a trade though. He’s ready for training camp, whenever that will start, and presumably ready to go on the road in Week 1 and face the LA Rams in their SoFi Stadium debut on September 13th for Sunday Night Football.
One Cowboys coach reportedly told a Dallas media member that he believed Prescott no longer wanted to be on the team but that he wouldn’t show it at work. I am not sure exactly how someone can see something that he says can’t be seen, but I understand the sentiment being presented here.
@BryanBroaddus of @1053thefan today on GBAG w/@gavindawson said he asked a Cowboys coach if Dak Prescott still wanted to be on the team the coach said:— Kevin Gray Jr. (@KevinGraySports) July 23, 2020
“At this point, no, I don’t think so. However he will not say it or show it; the kid is a stud...” #CowboysNation pic.twitter.com/fDssMsji2f
Whatever the case, if the Rams and Cowboys and the NFL are able to resume the season schedule as expected, Dak Prescott will face LA in Week 1 so long as he is healthy. And the Rams will be hoping for a much different outcome than the last time they faced off.