There's no question that Dallas Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott has had a banner season. So much so that he is likely headed to the Pro Bowl along with fellow rookie teammate, RB Ezekiel Elliott.
Prescott entered Sunday night's game against the Giants with staggeringly efficient stats. He had a 10-game streak in which he threw for more than 225 yards while registering a QB rating of over 100. He also had a seven-game streak in which he completed 70 percent of his passes and had tossed just two INTs in the first 12 games.
That all ended when the Giants' defense put the screws to him, forcing several errors and slamming him repeatedly with their relentless pressure packages. Prescott went 17-for-37 (46 percent) for 165 yards and two interceptions. He finished the game with a QB rating of 45.4, his lowest of the season.
This poor performance comes on the heels of another clunker by Prescott. He threw for just 139 yards in the Cowboys' 17-15 win over Minnesota last week.
After the game, head coach Jason Garrett was asked if the Prescott train had run out of track and if he was considering reinserting veteran Tony Romo at quarterback.
"No," he said. "We feel good about Dak Prescott playing quarterback for us right now." Garrett said that he had not considered Romo, who was injured in the preseason and has recently been cleared for action, even for a brief relief appearance.
Dallas was in New York territory on five of their seven first half possessions but did not enter the red zone. In the second half, they didn't cross midfield once in their eight possessions. They went 1-for-15 on third downs, a striking stat that illustrated how the Giants defense shut down the rookie quarterback.
"There's no question they did a great job with coverage on the back end; whether they were playing zone or man," Garrett said. "There were some tight throws to be made. At times we made some of those throws. Other times, we didn't. At times we've made some of the contested catches, other times we didn't."
That is because the Giants' secondary was wagging the dog again. Their coverage was excellent most of the night, forcing Prescott to hold the football longer, which invited pressure, and also force balls into those tight spaces where the Giants were laying in wait.
There is no question that Prescott and Elliott's play have buoyed this latest Cowboys run to the top of the NFC. But Dallas is a big fish bowl when it comes to the Cowboys and owner/GM Jerry Jones has exhibited a lack of patience in the past. A Romo return is certainly not out of the question.
Garrett was pressed about Romo throughout his postgame media session. He was as diplomatic as a coach can be, taking care not to say the wrong the thing. He is prepared to coach Prescott up rather than return to the Romo era -- a period in which the Cowboys prospered but did not get to a Super Bowl.
"Go back and look at it," he said when asked what he will do with Prescott from here. "We'll build on the good stuff, and clean up the bad stuff, and move forward. That's one of the best things he does, one of the best things our team does."
One thing they don't do well is beat the Giants, who are inching towards a postseason berth of their own. Jones is fully aware of how the Giants bit him in the rear end in the past and may intercede if Prescott's troubles continue.
The NFC is fraught with peril for these Cowboys. No only have the Giants shown they can beat Dallas, but they've given the rest of the conference hope with their two victories. Green Bay is back and healthy and Seattle is always dangerous. The Redskins are surging and the Lions will not be an easy out, either.
Social media erupted with calls for Romo on Sunday night. Will Jerry Jones cave to the demands of his beloved fan base? Or will he let the Dak attack run it's course?