Dak Prescott Throws Two Interceptions In Loss

Dak Prescott Interception

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a rough outing on Sunday, throwing two interceptions in a season-ending loss. The latest installment in one of the best playoff rivalries in the sport resulted in San Francisco 49ers beating the Dallas Cowboys 19-12. The Cowboys played well but ultimately ran out of time after Prescott spotted the 49ers potentially nine points in the first half.

Dak Prescott Throws Two Interceptions as San Francisco Advances

Turnover Troubles Continue for Prescott

Prescott was intercepted twice in the first half against the 49ers. These interceptions set the Cowboys behind the eight-ball early in the game. The first pick came after a defensive stop in the Cowboys own territory setting up a Robbie Gould field goal. The 49ers took a 3-0 lead after a crucial mistake from the Cowboys quarterback.

Dak Prescott threw his second interception late in the first half. Dallas had marched down the field and was threatening to close the first half with a touchdown. Prescott dropped back and threw an ill-advised pass to CeeDee Lamb that was deflected and eventually intercepted by Fred Warner.

The second turnover hurt badly as the Cowboys were threatening in a 6-6 game and they could have taken a lead into halftime. Instead, the 49ers moved the ball down the field and kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired taking a 9-6 lead into the half. Taking away what should have been a field goal (at least) for Dallas and adding a field goal to the 49ers made this a six-point swing. After both turnovers, Dallas should have had three more points and had given San Francisco a nine-point cushion.

Kicking Woes Re-Emerge for Maher and the Special Teams

In no surprise to anyone, Brett Maher’s first extra-point attempt was unsuccessful. Prescott led the Cowboys on an impressive scoring drive ending with a Dalton Schultz touchdown reception. With all eyes on the most anticipated PAT in recent history, Maher trotted out to the field.

One week after missing four consecutive PAT’s, Maher got the nod from Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy and would continue to be the team’s primary kicker. Much to the chagrin of Dallas fans Maher’s kick was blocked. Upon replay, the kick was clearly shanked and looked like it would be hooked left. The blocked kick was likely a blessing as it let Maher off the hook since he technically didn’t miss another PAT. Maher went on to kick two field goals keeping Dallas in the game.

After originally being released, Maher returned to Dallas with something to prove as the primary kicker. He was one of the best kickers in the NFL until the Wild Card playoff round. The Cowboys will evaluate Maher as the kicker for the Cowboys in the upcoming season. Dallas will have many questions to answer moving forward, kicker being one of them.

Great Defensive Performance from Dallas

The Dallas defense played great allowing only 312 total yards. The 49ers managed 113 yards rushing as a team on 32 attempts for just over 3.5 yards per carry. The passing game was not much more efficient as Brock Purdy threw for a measly 214 yards through the air. The defense showed one spot of vulnerability allowing a 91-yard scoring drive capped with a two-yard Christian McCaffrey rushing touchdown.

The defense was also in the backfield with heavy pressure much of the night. Purdy faced his toughest opponent as the Cowboys managed two sacks and four tackles for loss in the divisional round. The 49ers have been putting up huge offensive numbers lately, 41 against the Seattle Seahawks. Dallas held them to only one touchdown. Had Dallas not spotted them potentially nine points the narrative of the game would have been the dominant Dallas defense.

Where Does Dallas Go From Here?

This offseason will be very difficult with salary cap issues looming for Dallas. The NFL’s leader in interceptions, Prescott, has a huge cap hit of over $49 million. As Dallas looks to end its Super Bowl drought, they will have to decide if Prescott is the quarterback to lead them with this huge contract.

Another looming question is what will Dallas do with their running back room? Ezekiel Elliott has another massive cap hit at over $16 million while Tony Pollard is a free agent. Dallas has a potential out in this contract in 2023 and could exercise this option to save on cap space dedicated to the aging running back. Rumors are already flying about the potential for Pollard as a prime franchise tag candidate.

The offensive line is another huge question mark for the Cowboys. Tyler Smith looks like a solid draft pick and is progressing well while Tyron Smith is spending more time on the injured reserve than on the field. Dallas has lost some key pieces at the offensive line position over the past few seasons and is in desperate need of restructuring.

With stars everywhere on the defensive side of the ball and great skill position players, Dallas has a strong core group of guys who can win and win deep in the playoffs. Dallas needs to find a way to prioritize their young talent and move on from aging and inefficient veterans. This will be a crucial off-season after an overall successful season for Cowboys.

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