1. Home
  2. NEWS
  3. Dak Prescott is older and wiser as the Cowboys have loftiest playoff perch since he was a rookie
Dak Prescott is older and wiser as the Cowboys have loftiest playoff perch since he was a rookie

Dak Prescott is older and wiser as the Cowboys have loftiest playoff perch since he was a rookie


FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Dak Prescott was a rookie the previous time the Dallas Cowboys were seeded this high in the playoffs, blissfully unaware of how difficult it is to get in that position.

The star quarterback is older and much wiser seven years later, while bearing much more of the burden for a franchise that hasn’t won multiple games in the same postseason in 28 years.

The No. 2 seed Cowboys (12-5) start yet another quest in the wild-card round Sunday against Green Bay (9-8), the same opponent, on the same field where Prescott’s top-seeded team lost his playoff debut with Mike McCarthy, now the Dallas coach, on the opposing sideline.

These Cowboys took an improbable path to a fourth NFC East title in eight seasons with Prescott, overtaking freefalling Philadelphia in the final two weeks.

Now, they could get at least two playoff games at home, where they have a 16-game winning streak and were 8-0 this regular season.

In other words, it couldn’t have set up much better for a storied franchise that hasn’t even been to an NFC championship game since winning the last of its five Super Bowl titles to cap the 1995 season.

“Very ready,” Prescott said after the 38-10 victory at Washington that wrapped up the division. “Coming off of the past years, understanding the team we have, knowing that coming into this season we had a team that could compete, wanting to put ourselves in this position. Now it’s upon us.”

The 30-year-old Prescott is 1-2 in playoff openers at home, beating Seattle two years after the loss to the Packers before stumbling in a wild-card game against San Francisco to finish the 2021 season.

The 2016 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is 2-6 overall in the postseason, sharing the same fate so far as his predecessor, Tony Romo, in trying to break from the quarterbacking shadow of Pro Football Hall of Famers, and multiple Super Bowl winners, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Considering Prescott’s experience, and not having the bad luck of facing four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers when his Cowboys were the No. 1 seed in the NFC seven years ago, the time might never be better.

“We’ll enjoy this,” Prescott said after the victory over the Commanders finished a third consecutive 12-win season when a third straight trip to the playoffs had already been assured.

“Enjoy this plane ride home, and guarantee you tomorrow, everybody turns the page, puts this regular season behind them and understands that tomorrow’s not promised.”


The Cowboys had their best per-carry average in the run game since the first victory over Washington six weeks earlier, which came a week after a season-worst showing in that category against the run blitzes of Detroit. Dallas also was missing both starting guards in six-time All-Pro Zack Martin and Tyler Smith.

Even marginal success on the ground will be big for the Cowboys, considering how strong they’ve been through the air with Prescott. His four TD passes against the Commanders gave him the club record he had shared with Romo with his 11th career game with at least that many.

Prescott led the NFL with 36 TD tosses. His wild-card opponent, Green Bay’s Jordan Love, was second with 32.


The psyche of the Cowboys with their kicker after Brandon Aubrey’s perfect season finally ended, first with a block and then with a bona-fide miss when a 36-yarder clanked off the left upright.

Granted, the 28-year-old rookie eased the mind of everyone on the Dallas by putting a 50-yarder right down the middle late against the Commanders.

But that reality was, the end of Aubrey’s 35-for-35 run came a week before the anniversary of Brett Maher’s wild-card meltdown in Tampa Bay, when he missed four consecutive extra-point kicks. Maher kept his job through the divisional-round loss a week later, but Dallas moved on after the season.


CeeDee Lamb fell just short of the NFL receiving title in the best season ever for a Dallas wideout. For the second week in a row, Lamb was briefly ahead of Miami’s Tyreek Hill before Hill did enough to keep the lead in receiving yards. Hill finished at 1,799 yards to 1,749 for Lamb.

The fourth-year pro broke Michael Irvin’s club records from 1995, the most recent Super Bowl season for Dallas, for catches and yards. His 135 grabs — including a career-best 13 each of the past two games — were 16 more than runners-up Hill and Amon-Ra St. Brown of the Lions.


The breakout season for Lamb, and a strong showing from No. 2 receiver Brandin Cooks (eight TDs), resulted in the disappearance of Michael Gallup. He had a career-low 418 yards with 34 catches, the fewest since his rookie season. And that includes a season in which Gallup missed eight games.


Martin was a late scratch with an illness, so there’s little question he will be back against Green Bay. Smith has a plantar fascia injury, but the Cowboys are optimistic about a playoff return. … CB Stephon Gilmore left the Washington game with a right shoulder injury. He said the medical staff popped the shoulder back into place, and he expects to play this week.


19 — Consecutive seasons without a repeat winner in the NFC East after the defending division champion Eagles finished 1-5 following a 10-1 start. It’s the longest such streak in NFL history.


The Cowboys and Packers have split eight playoff meetings. Green Bay won the first two, followed by Dallas taking four in a row, including three consecutive seasons from 1993-95. The Packers have won the past two.

TOP PHOTO: FILE – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Public Inspection File FCC EEO Public File Report - Employment Opportunities at Our Stations