After leading the Cowboys to their fourth straight victory Sunday – a 28-14 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals – Dak Prescott is a popular guy in Dallas.
So popular, in fact, that Prescott could remain the Cowboys’ starter even after Tony Romo returns from injury.
“I think it’s a very, very unique situation when you have a rookie quarterback playing as well as he’s played,” NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The fact that they jumped out to a 4-1 record, they have a lot of momentum and chemistry that’s kind of building on offense. If there’s a situation where the team is rolling when Tony Romo is available, I very well could see the Cowboys electing to stay with the hot hand and the rookie because (he’s playing) really well. He’s exceeded expectations. Even though Tony Romo is a veteran, sometimes you don’t like to take away chemistry. I think you kind of have to stay with the to hand because you can’t let the genie go back in the bottle.”
Romo has spent his entire 12-year career in Dallas, but he’s played in just four games since the start of the 2015 season. Prescott, meanwhile, has been durable, reliable and efficient. He was 18-of-24 for 227 yards and two touchdowns (one pass, one rush) Sunday.
“I think everyone is mindful and respectful of what Tony Romo has done, but they also see what the young fella is doing and they see how that offense is clicking,” Brooks said. “The thing that you’re impressed with when you look at Dak Prescott is the stage hasn’t been too big for him. Because he’s handled it with poise, because he hasn’t turned the ball over, because he’s made a number of big plays and handled different circumstances, you’re feeling really good about your young quarterback. I think if you’re the Dallas Cowboys, I think you realize that you got lucky with the situation and the big picture, having a young quarterback playing on a rookie contract, could allow that team to really fortify themselves and become a consistent contender if Dak is able to play well throughout the season and beyond.”
Elsewhere around the league, the Chargers lost another second-half lead Sunday, losing 34-31 in Oakland. San Diego is now 1-4 on the season, with all four losses coming by a combined 14 points.
San Diego reminds Brooks of the adage that more games are lost than won.
“More times than not, a team will beat itself before the other team will really beat it,” he said. “Your self-inflicted miscues, your turnovers, your penalties, your mental mistakes in terms of lining up not knowing your assignment – those things (beat you). If you can eliminate those things and really force the opponent to beat you, more times than not, you can win a lot of games.”
Minnesota, meanwhile, beat Houston 31-13 and is now the only unbeaten team in the NFL.
“I think Mike Zimmer has done a great job of not blinking no matter what the circumstances, no matter what adversity they faced,” Brooks said. “This team continues to thrive, and part of the reason they’re able to thrive is because they’re built the right way, particularly to win the NFC.”
That means great defense, the ability to run the ball, and efficient quarterback play. Sam Bradford was 22-of-30 for 271 yards and two touchdowns against Houston, as five different receivers caught at least two passes.
“He’s using all of (his) weapons,” said Brooks, who believes Minnesota’s offense runs more smoothly without Adrian Peterson. “Because they have a defense, a running game and some weapons on the outside, a guy that many people had said was a bust is now looking like the No. 1 overall pick that he was expected to be and play and perform as when he came into the league.”