NFL 2020: Dak Prescott's injury and what it means for the Dallas Cowboys
During the third quarter of Sunday's NFC East showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, disaster struck for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The game was closer than many had thought it would be. The winless Giants were trailing the favored Cowboys by one point with just under seven minutes to go in the quarter, but Dallas was driving into the red zone.
Prescott hadn't been as productive as usual. He came into the game having passed for at least 450 yards in each of the last three weeks -- on pace to break NFL records for passing yards in a season -- but at this juncture he had only 166 yards through the air against New York. It seemed, however, like Dak and Dallas were on their way to their second victory of the season.
On first down from inside the Giants' 30 yards line, Prescott took a shotgun snap, faked a throw to running back Tony Pollard on his right side, then tucked the ball to run up the middle. Prescott broke one tackle as he headed toward the left sideline, but then Giants cornerback Logan Ryan brought him down one yard short of a first down.
Right away, something seemed off. Dak Prescott was holding onto his right leg and writhing in pain, and as cameras closed in on him, viewers around the globe felt a chill down their spine as the image of Prescott's lifeless dangling foot came onto their screens.
Ryan, the player closest to Dak Prescott after making the tackle, immediately started signaling for someone to come help Prescott before running off in the opposite direction. Players from both teams took a knee as the medical cart was summoned onto the field.
The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2016 Rookie of the Year was then loaded onto the cart, tears in his eyes as he exited the field to cheers from Cowboys fans.
The team later announced that Dak Prescott had suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. He had surgery on Sunday night. He is clearly done for the season, and some believe his career may even be in jeopardy.
Veteran backup QB Andy Dalton, in his first year with the Cowboys after being the starter for the Cincinnati Bengals for nine years, took over for Prescott and eventually guided Dallas to a 37-34 victory over their division rival.
What's next for the Cowboys without Dak Prescott?
While the Cowboys (2-3) did an impressive job after Prescott's injury to secure the win, things will only get tougher now that they don't have their ace QB under center. While Dalton is a solid QB in his own right, he is no Dak Prescott, and he is a backup QB at this point in his career for a reason.
During his time with the Bengals, Dalton was known to blow hot and cold. While he led Cincinnati to the playoffs four times, he didn't seem to deliver when it mattered most.
Without Dak Prescott, I think the Cowboys will shift to a more run-heavy scheme while giving Dalton ample chances to show off his arm. After all, they still possess one of the best wide receiver trios in the league with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb.
As for Dak Prescott, we'll have to wait and see what timetable is provided for his return to action.
Prescott had been seeking a long-term contract extension from the Cowboys before the season. He was playing under the franchise tag and could be a free agent by the time he is cleared to play again.
Will Prescott continue with the Cowboys? Will he still command the kind of contract given to top-level superstar quarterbacks? Can the team still make the playoffs without Dak Prescott?
Only time will tell, but for now we can only pray for his speedy recovery.