The Dallas Cowboys played their first full game without injured quarterback Dak Prescott since 2015 on Monday, and the results weren't pretty, with the team dropping a 38-10 home game to the Arizona Cardinals.
On Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan (h/t Jori Epstein of USA Today) there was a "pretty glaring difference" between Prescott, who suffered a season-ending dislocation and compound fracture of his right ankle on Oct. 11 against the New York Giants, and Andy Dalton, a former backup now thrust into the starter spotlight.
"That was the pretty glaring difference out there last night," Jones said. "But it doesn't have to stay that way."
Dalton completed 34 of his 54 passes for just 266 yards (4.9 yards per pass attempt). He threw a garbage-time touchdown to wide receiver Amari Cooper with 2:48 remaining and also tossed a pair of second-half interceptions.
The week before, Dalton came on in relief of Prescott to complete 9-of-11 passes for 111 yards in a 37-34 win over the New York Giants.
Prescott has largely shined during his five-year career, completing 66.0 percent of his passes for 106 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. Dallas has gone 42-27 in his starts and won the NFC East twice, including his 2016 rookie season, when the team finished 13-3 and earned the conference's No. 1 seed.
Per Football Outsiders, Prescott finished first in effective yards, defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) and sixth in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) among signal-callers who threw at least 200 passes last year.
Any backup would face a tough task to come anywhere close to replacing Prescott's production, including Dalton, a three-time Pro Bowler who led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs from 2011-2015.
Dalton has now played well in one game and struggled in another, but the Dallas defense continues to be the team's biggest problem regardless of who's under center. Football Outsiders ranks the unit 28th out of 32 teams in DVOA. The Cowboys have also allowed 8.0 yards per play, ranking 25th in the NFL.
Regardless of the team's struggles, Dallas is still first in the NFC East at 2-4. The Cowboys will look to get back in the win column when they visit the Washington Football Team on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.