So Long, Tony Romo: Dak Prescott Wins a Game and the Cowboys Quarterback Job

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw in the third quarter during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Mike FreemanNFL National Lead WriterOctober 31, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas — Let's not mince words about what we just witnessed. We saw, officially and with certainty, Dak Prescott take the reins of the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Probably for the rest of the season. Probably for the next 10 years. That's it. It's done. It's over.

Prescott wasn't perfect, by far. But he stood in the face of an insane, ferocious blitz, stared down one of the NFL's best defenses and led Dallas to a 29-23 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

We knew this was the game where Prescott would stumble, and he did. For much of the game, Jim Schwartz's defense forced him to play from behind while facing wave after wave of blitzes. But instead of wilting, he got better and stronger, and now it's Prescott who is the biggest reason this team has won six straight and controls the NFC East.

More than all of that, this contest had an impact on the future of the franchise—for the better. Prescott showed mental toughness, physical sturdiness and overall grit. This was one of the biggest tests he'll face this season, and he passed it, in overtime, and that means we won't see Tony Romo this year. This team belongs to Prescott now.

"Tony is not ready yet," Jerry Jones told a scrum of reporters after the game. Jones added that Prescott will start against Cleveland next week.

But when Romo is ready, even crazy-ass Jerrah will not bench Prescott now. No way. Prescott is better than Romo. That might sound insane, but it's true, thanks to Prescott's brain and his mobility.

The rookie's calmness, even when under duress, is almost uncanny. He continues to play like he's been in the league for five years. Even as Schwartz dialed up constant pressure, Prescott never lost his poise. He began to figure out what Schwartz was doing and adapted.

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 30:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw in the first quarter during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

And when he couldn't think his way out of trouble, he used his legs to buy more time. Many people compare Prescott to Russell Wilson. But to me, Prescott is more like a youthful Steve Young.

This isn't about forgetting how good Romo could be or living in the moment. Prescott, according to ESPN Stats & Info, is one of just six rookies since the merger to win six consecutive games and the first since Robert Griffin III did it in 2012.

We're seeing something special with this player. This is no offense to Romo. This is about how good Prescott is. How good he can become.

Again, to be clear, none of this is to say that Prescott was perfect. He threw a bad red-zone pick and missed some open receivers. But please, let's not forget that Romo has done the same, for years, while also earning frequent customer points from the team's medical staff.

Let's not forget that as good as Romo has been, he has been oft-injured, and he has often choked. These are facts.

It's possible that Prescott comes back to earth. Maybe, just maybe, the Eagles defense provided a blueprint on how to stop him. The only problem there is that most defenses don't have the speed or brains that Philadelphia's does.

Of the nine games remaining on the Cowboys' schedule, the only teams with superior defenses are the Vikings and Eagles. There will be lots of time for Prescott to grow, and grow he will.

The best thing about what Prescott did against Philadelphia? He shook off the mediocre-to-bad three quarters of football and won.

"He can handle any situation with poise and composure," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.

The word Cowboys coaches and players use most when describing Prescott: composed.

It's one of the reasons why this job is now his.

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