No matter what the NFL offensive rookie of the year award trophy said last season, Ezekiel Elliott was the engine that made the Dallas Cowboys go. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a tremendous rookie season, but the offense was built around Elliott.
In their second seasons, the roles are changing.
Prescott made the biggest plays when the Cowboys needed them on Monday night, and they needed all of them in a hard-fought and entertaining 28-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
It was Prescott flipping into the end zone on a 10-yard touchdown run early in the game. Prescott delivered a perfect strike to Brice Butler for a 37-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. And after the Cardinals cut Dallas’ lead to 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, it was Prescott who found Butler behind Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu deep downfield and hit him for a game-changing 53-yard gain. Whenever the Cowboys needed a big play on offense, Prescott made it happen.
Elliott was still a big part of the offense, of course. He had a nice 8-yard touchdown to practically seal the game by giving Dallas a 28-17 lead. But he isn’t playing like the same force of nature that led the NFL in rushing last season, at least through three weeks. But Prescott looks much more advanced in his second season, so it’s OK.
Prescott looks like he’s in control of the offense. Last season he had a wonderful rookie season, and beat out Elliott for offensive rookie of the year because voters default to voting for quarterbacks whenever they can. But he was in a perfect situation behind a tremendous line with Elliott doing all the work. The Cowboys talked in the offseason about opening up the offense for Prescott, and it’s clear to see they have done that. There’s more on Prescott’s plate, and he has handled it well.
Prescott didn’t play well at Denver in Week 2, but that was against a great pass defense with no running game to provide any balance. The Cowboys had a tricky road game in Week 3 at Arizona, which was playing its home opener. The Cowboys ran the ball fairly well, certainly better than in Week 2, and the defense played pretty well with a great game from end DeMarcus Lawrence. But the Cowboys still had to rely on Prescott to bring the win home.
Prescott did just that. This looks like his offense and his team now.
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