Dak Prescott made a bad decision on a run-pass option early in the third quarter. It resulted in a Micah Hyde interception.
Despite trailing 28-13, and Aaron Rodgers regaining possession of the ball, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told Prescott, “We’re all right.”
Prescott proved him right.
The rookie quarterback completed 13 of 17 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns the rest of the way to twice bring back the Cowboys.
“We are going to keep fighting,” Prescott said. “We kept believing in each other. We kept believing that we would make that next play. We were believing that the defense was going to make stops, and the offense was going to make touchdowns and keep us in the game, and we did that all the way to the end.”
Prescott’s first season didn’t end the way he wanted it to. After 13 victories and home-field advantage in the playoffs, he had hoped to become the first rookie quarterback to lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Instead, the Cowboys didn’t make it out of the divisional round as Rodgers made one more play than Prescott did. Prescott, though, stood toe-to-toe with the quarterback many regard as the NFL’s best. Prescott completed 24 of 38 passes for 302 yards with three touchdowns, an interception and a 103.2 passer rating, and Rodgers went 28-of-43 for 356 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a 96.7 passer rating.
“The second half gave him the opportunity to go against real uphill odds, and he didn’t blink,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “He didn’t do anything but lead as well as play in a way that you can win championships. I know a lot more about our team after that second half of play than I did coming into this game.
“Now, I didn’t have to be told about Rodgers and what he’s capable of doing, and we just weren’t enough there at the end.”
Prescott nearly led the Cowboys to a comeback victory from 18 points down. The Cowboys tied it at 28-28 with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Dez Bryant with 4:08 remaining and then a quarterback draw on a 2-point conversion, and then tied it again on Dan Bailey’s 52-yard field goal with 35 seconds left.
“I had all the faith in the defense that we were going to stop them,” Prescott said. “Maybe something crazy was going to happen with them giving us the ball with a couple of seconds left. I mean, I’m always optimistic, thinking that good things are going to happen. But a quarterback went out there and made great plays like he has his whole career.”
Prescott shed no tears, but the look on his face made his feelings obvious.
“I think they are as low as they could get at this point,” Prescott said. “It’s a terrible feeling.”