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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Cowboys’ season ended in somewhat predictable fashion on Sunday. The Cowboys started down a path that can only be assumed to be a good football team. The 49ers ended his 12-win Dallas season in a row and advanced to another NFC Championship Game. It’s the seventh time since the Cowboys last attended. One could debate the place the two franchises occupy in his all-time NFL heavyweight hierarchy, but in modern times, Kyle has the upper hand between Shanahan’s his 49ers and Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys. There is no question whether it stands for

When these discussions take place — two teams compared to each other in a given era — we talk about how Troy Aikman outperformed Brett Favre in the most crucial moments. The team that consistently wins in this sport This game is about him with the ball in his hands at the moment of truth. … the player who decides the fate of the team when it matters most.

We’ve seen this before. The Eli Manning vs. Tony Romo story of the past decade has built on this. You could say your man is better than their man, but he had a chance in a legacy-building moment to prove it, but unfortunately he wasn’t. Showing why he is a man in the moment when everything is decided?

These are the never-ending debates about Cowboy’s abilities at the QB position, and they will never end until this organization can overcome decades of obstacles in the divisional rounds.

On Sunday, Dak Prescott had his moments. he couldn’t redo it. It’s certainly tough to blame it all on him, but it really doesn’t matter. Brock Purdy, however, is voted the better quarterback in the game in the blind taste test.

Not that Purdy was phenomenal. However, in a moment when he needed to lead several drives in the closing stages of the game, he completed the most important play of the game with his cross-field pass to George his Kittle. it goes down the field. At that moment, late in the 3rd quarter he was 9-9 and the Niners were looking to drive the ball out from deep in their territory. That play changed the game. From there, the running game did most of the work after another short pass to Christian McCaffrey. That lone touchdown Purdy’s main contribution on his drive was Kittle being sacked while Donovan drew his hold defensively to Wilson. But make no mistake, that 30-yard throw from him changed everything.

On the next drive, Purdy (rookie from Iowa) hit Kittle with another 17, converting two third-down passes to Brandon Ayuk and McCaffrey. In total, Purdy hit seven third downs and moved the chain. Combine that with the fact that he played a clean game (no interceptions or fumbles), and we can assume he played enough to win. His final strike was a first-down throw to Kittle just before the two-minute caution, effectively toasting the Cowboys.

That’s what we remember.

Six days after thrashing the most decorated playoff quarterback in the history of the game, Prescott could tell the story of his career if he could back it up with a victory over one of the least decorated playoff QBs. I thought I might be ready to tweak the forever.at least Purdy Before this game. Now Purdy will do something for his franchise that a QB hasn’t done for the Cowboys since Aikman was younger — the NFC Championship where he starts the game.

This game plays a big part in all the debate over Prescott’s place among quarterbacks. And, frankly, it should.

He threw several turnover-worthy passes, but none covered his glorious effort. And the closest thing to it was the guy from Dallas. When we endlessly discuss Prescott’s performance, it doesn’t seem to be about his great moments or level of talent. We understand the balance between risk and reward and are willing to pull the trigger, but we also understand the consequences of getting it wrong.

Prescott failed several times, costing the Cowboys. Your best player should be your best player, and nowhere is that truer than at the quarterback – especially if you’re a road underdog. Prescott protected that ball and Dallas scored. You have to be sorely sure it’s not the reason it’s missing on the board.

The reason why Dallas is one of 28 teams to finish the season can be pointed out each quarter the Cowboys’ offense has been.

Q1: This is the 3rd and 9th on the Cowboys’ second drive of the game as Prescott threw the first interception. This pass — Michael late his throw to Gallup, where he appeared to have run the second-best route on the play — Deodorant Lenoir jumped it back to the Dallas 21. Additionally, Prescott is late on the throw after taking a hitch or two too far and pushing the ball where nothing can be found. The 49ers started to feel good about themselves after short field scoring points and the defense set the tone.

Second quarter: The severity of Tony Pollard’s injuries should not be confused. When downed at San Francisco’s 18-yard line, Dallas knew things would get tougher in a 6-6 game with 1:24 remaining. But the Cowboys went 2-2 with him, and at worst it looked like Dallas could kick his goal on the field to take the lead at halftime and run away for his final minute as well. was broken. Instead, on the next play, Prescott forced a pass to his CeeDee Lamb. CeeDee Lamb was out-slotted by Jimmie Ward and Fred Warner as we warned in our preview article. The reason Prescott felt compelled to try to jam the ball between two exceptional defenders in second-and-short is one of the worst possible decisions he could possibly make, and he probably won’t make it in 2022. It was the most detrimental play to the Cowboys’ playoff fate of the year. Not only did the Cowboys waste a solid field goal opportunity and even a chance to get into his zone at the end, they also allowed the Niners to score their own field goal. You can’t underestimate how damaging this moment was. Any coach worth his salt would pull a hair when a quarterback loses a possession in the second and short. Prescott must either profit easily or “dirt” the ball and move on to the next play. A seventh-year quarterback cannot allow this in the middle of the playoffs.

Third quarter: This is probably on offensive coordinator Kellen Moore’s desk, but the Cowboys were given the ball at San Francisco’s 21-yard line away from a beautiful special teams moment by Kelvin Joseph. He hit the ball off punt returner Rayleigh MacLeod to give Dallas the perfect opportunity to take the lead in a touchdown. Instead, the Cowboys meekly scored his goal on the field that tied the game, with him not throwing a single ball into the end zone in his five red zone plays. Get your chance with a rare Red Zone giveaway. The Cowboys should feel obligated to dial up his favorite scoring shot. Instead, they seemed reluctant to jeopardize their game-tying field goal attempt. , followed by an equally timid coach decision. These could be argued to be two cases where the coaching staff didn’t trust Prescott as much as they did on Monday night. If you’re sitting on a deal, that should speak volumes to anyone outside.

Q4: The Cowboys had the ball three times in the fourth quarter. If he scored one touchdown on these three occasions, the outcome would likely be different. They kicked the field his goal on their first drive. Prescott’s third and eighth passes were behind Lamb and probably weren’t destined to gain eight yards, so they settled for it.

The Cowboys started their next drive at 19-12 with 2:59 left in the game. Now or never, most of the time. At the first snap, Prescott sent a pass to Dalton He telegraphed Schultz and Dre He said Greenlaw was out in front of the pass and would have had a pick 6 to seal the game if he caught the pass. . Instead, the ball hit the ground, giving Dallas another chance. On the next play, Gallup stepped into his Charvarius Ward without the aid of a safety, but the ball was opposite his Gallup. In all fairness to Prescott, this season has been one of wondering if the quarterback or Gallup is on the wrong page. — so we’re wondering, if they link up with everything on the line, there’s a touchdown potential. And when the Cowboys finish this season like they did last season, there will be a final desperate drive — with turmoil and turmoil as most of America laughed at their sacrifice.

This has been a space that has defended Prescott (like Romo before him) in the face of irrational criticism for several years in a row, but defenders have stopped to acknowledge that limitations and failures are real and unjustified. Not a knee-jerk reaction.

Yes, it’s too simplistic to put all this on Prescott, but it’s simplistic to say he’s the best quarterback on the field and if he plays a clean game the Cowboys have a good chance of winning this game Multiple interceptions that should have gone even worse have forced Prescott to shut up his critics before his 30th birthday (which happens before he plays another meaningful game). No. He’s in his eighth season as a starter for the Cowboys, and the reality is clear.

For the second year in a row, he was the second-best QB in the final game of the Cowboys’ campaign against two different San Francisco quarterbacks who might be unthinkable at Prescott’s level in terms of stats and earnings. As such, Prescott is likely going into next season with more suspicions than before.

It seemed an incredibly unexpected conclusion less than a week after he beat Tom Brady in Tampa.

In this very obvious case, the highest paid player was not one of the best. And that reality kicks you out of the playoffs.

(Top photo of Dak Prescott and Brock Purdy: Michael Owens/Getty Images)



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