What Mike McCarthy learned about Dak Prescott in Dallas Cowboys’ historic comeback

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FRISCO, Texas — As a quarterback guru who has tutored the likes of Joe Montana, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers during his expansive coaching career, Mike McCarthy has seen his share of quarterback-led miraculous comebacks.

On Sunday, he witnessed the Dak Prescott comeback experience for the first time as coach of the Dallas Cowboys

So what did he learn about his quarterback after seeing him rally the Cowboys from a 20-point deficit to a 40-39 victory with a performance for the ages?

“He has great patience and discipline, and he’s resilient,” McCarthy said. “He has the qualities to win those games. We spend a lot of time on the final plays of the game. You have to be comfortable as a quarterback winning on the last play of the game. That’s what the NFL is. To get to where you want to get to you have to find ways to win those games. … Dak is wired perfectly for those types of situations.”

As for the stat sheet, Prescott completed 34 of 47 passes for 450 yards with a passing touchdown and three more rushing touchdowns. Before Sunday, no player in NFL history had ever passed for 450 yards and ran for three scores in a game.

Prescott was named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week for the third time in his career.

In Sunday’s win, Prescott engineered his 15th career game-winning drive, passing Danny White for fourth in team history. He is now tied with Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders for the most game-winning drives in the NFL since the start of the 2016 season.

“I just think his demeanor. His understanding that football football is a long game,” said Moore when asked what McCarthy learned about Prescott. “As bad as that first quarter was, it was one quarter. We scored on seven of our last eight drives, I believe. It’s going to be a long, long game and I think he does a great job of just handling all the ups and downs of an NFL game, an NFL season and everyone looks up to him because of that.”

After falling behind 20-0 in the first quarter, the Cowboys ran their 2-minute offense the rest of the way. And he didn’t blink on the final drive to set up the game-winning field goal.

Prescott’s poise has been one of his key leadership attributes that’s been on display ever since he stepped in for an injured Tony Romo as a rookie back in 2016.

“He’s just so steady,” McCarthy said. “It’s tough on a quarterback particularly when you get in a hole like that, but I thought he was strong in the pocket. I thought he was smart with the football. He’s just so composed. I thought he had a very strong performance. Huge performance.”

Sunday marked the 10th occasion in which Prescott has led the team to victory when the club was tied or trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime.

“Just in the short time we’ve been together, I think our offensive operation and personnel is suited very well for up-tempo,” McCarthy said. “It starts with the command of the quarterback. so our guys are very comfortable playing up-tempo.”

It’s worthy to note that Prescott directed the fourth-quarter comeback after leaving the game in third quarter and missing two plays while he underwent the concussion protocol after being rocked on a late hit.

“Just fearless,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said of Prescott. “No matter what the score is, Dak Prescott has the same mentality. For him to be as clutch as he was and make the plays he made, it was special.”

And yet in true Prescott fashion, he downplayed his performance and credited his teammates, including the offensive line, Elliott and those receivers — especially those receivers.

Prescott spread the ball around to nine different targets.

Rookie CeeDee Lamb led the Cowboys with six catches for 106 yards. It was the first 100-yard game of his career. Amari Cooper had six catches for 100 yards and tight end Dalton Schultz had a career-high nine catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Prescott had six plays of 20 yards or yards more, including a 58-yarder to Cooper, a pass of 38 yards to Michael Gallup, ones of 37 and 24 yards to Lamb, a 20-yarder to Noah Brown and a 24-yarder to tight end Blake Bell.

“Let’s also credit these receivers,” Prescott said. “They went out there and continued to get open. Yeah, sure, I had to find them and had to make some plays here and there, but that was a team win all the way around. I think my stats show just that.”

He said he wouldn’t have been able to throw for as many yards if the offensive line didn’t protect the way they did and had the receivers not been able to get open. “And, like I’ve said, when you have a running back like Zeke, that allows them (Falcons) to focus in on him and allow for those easy rushing touchdowns.” Prescott said. “I give credit to the whole offense.”


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