It took the Cowboys a while to get going on Monday night. When they did, they often made it look easy, especially when quarterback Dak Prescott was running hard.
The difference between the teams last night came in many ways at the most important position on the field. The Cardinals, who love to throw the ball down the field, had a hard time buying time for Carson Palmer, who still has an arm by NASA but, in many respects, a body by LEGO. With the offensive line simply failing to keep the rush away from a quarterback whose feet seem to move the fastest when he’s not moving at all, the Cardinals were unable to do what they wanted to do.
Prescott did everything he wanted to do, specifically when he ran out of the pocket. Or, more accurately, sprinted out of the pocket.
His accuracy seems to improve when throwing on the sprint. Indeed, his two most important throws of the night — both to Brice Butler — came when running to the right and unleashing a laser-guided missile.
Three times he threw on the run as the designed play, completing two for 90 yards. Three other times he threw on the run after being flushed out of the pocket, completing two for 54 yards.
That’s 4-6 for 144 yards when throwing out of the pocket.
Coupled with his ability to use the zone read not as a crutch but as a well-timed change of pace, Prescott currently is capable of being as dangerous as any quarterback in the league.
And that’s just what he can do with the ball in his hands. His leadership skills quite possibly had something to do with running back Ezekiel Elliott not slumping his shoulders and accepting the fact that the Arizona defense was going to be able to shut him down. Though he seemed to be running in mud early in the game, Elliott eventually improved, doing just enough to balance Prescott, who quickly has become far more important to the Dallas offense than any running back could be.
Which could be the best news for the Cowboys as they move three games in to Prescott’s second season.