But on Sunday, the still stellar defense of the Denver Broncos made them look … well, like rookies.
Prescott, who was wildly efficient in 2016, was all over the place.
He completed 30 of 50 passes for just 238 yards, and connected on just one pass for over 18 yards, throwing two touchdowns and two picks—half as many interceptions as he threw all last season. Prescott would have been picked off a lot more in the contest had it not been for some heads-up plays from his receivers.
Dak Prescott missed all of these throws on just one drive. pic.twitter.com/SEQyrTIiZK
— Patrick (@Floridelphian) September 17, 2017
One of Prescott’s picks was particularly miserable—Aqib Talib stepped in front of Dez Bryant on a ball that was terribly underthrown in the end zone. The defensive back took it 103 yards to the house to all but end the game.
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2017
Head coach Jason Garrett placed much of the blame for the 42-17 beatdown on Prescott and the passing game.
Jason Garrett put the blame squarely on Dak Prescott’s inability to make plays in the passing game
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 18, 2017
Jason Garrett threw Dak Prescott right under that bus.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) September 18, 2017
“When they play that style of defense, you have to be able to consistently attack with the passing game,” coach Jason Garrett said. “At different times today, I thought we were able to do that, and at other times we weren’t. We didn’t make the plays, for whatever reason.
“We really needed to have [consistent] success throwing the ball. We were not able to do that.”
Somehow, Elliott was even worse. Last year’s leading rusher carried nine times for just eight yards.
The Cowboys were so successful a season ago because of their dominant running game and ability to shut down opposing backs.
Neither happened this game—Denver running back C.J. Anderson amassed 154 total yards and two touchdowns—making this one of the few times Dallas has depended on Prescott to bring the team back from a multiple-score deficit.