clearn.png
Sunday February 5th, 2023 9:41PM

Prescott, Cowboys stuck in divisional-round rut another year

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — For all the progress of the first road playoff victory in 30 years, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys still can't get out of their divisional-round rut.

Now they have another year to think about it.

“They're all independent,” the Dallas quarterback said after dropping to 0-3 in divisional games, almost half of the record seven consecutive losses in this round for the Cowboys.

“You can’t take one from the other or think about that. But all I can think about right now is this game and how disappointed I am in my play at this point.”

Prescott threw two interceptions in a 19-12 loss to San Francisco, a week after easily his best playoff performance in a victory at Tampa Bay that eliminated seven-time champ Tom Brady.

The Cowboys (13-6) have fallen short of the NFC championship game in 12 consecutive playoff appearances since winning the most recent of the five Super Bowl titles for America's Team 27 years ago.

Prescott was the problem early, but the defense was a big letdown late by allowing two long scoring drives and not getting Dallas the ball back with enough time for a realistic scoring chance.

The offseason focus, though, will be largely on Prescott's failures.

He went from a personal playoff-best 143.3 passer rating against the Bucs to a playoff-worst 63.6 against the Niners. His career-high 17 interceptions, playoffs included, led the NFL.

Owner/general manager Jerry Jones remains committed to Prescott. The 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year has two years left on a four-year contract that pays $40 million per season.

“We’ll come out of here with something good out of this,” Jones said. “That’s an edge. Tonight didn’t change my mind about the edge with him.”

MCCARTHY'S STIFF-ARM

Coach Mike McCarthy was photographed extending an arm into the lens of a TV cameraman while walking off the field after the game.

The cameraman tweeted that he didn't think the coach pushed him, although the photograph made it appear he had. The cameraman said he met privately with McCarthy, who he said apologized.

Jones said the latest divisional loss didn't change his mind about McCarthy being his coach. Questions about McCarthy's job security continue despite consecutive 12-win seasons that ended with playoff trips, including last week's postseason victory.

ENDING WITH A THUD

Star running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Dalton Schultz might have played their final games with the Cowboys. If so, both endings left something to be desired.

Elliott was the center for a strange formation on the final play, getting run over by a defender after the shotgun snap to Prescott. Receiver KaVontae Turpin was immediately tackled before the Cowboys could start pitching the ball on a play that began 76 yards from the end zone.

Schultz inexplicably didn't get a second foot down on the catch before that play, costing the Cowboys about 15 yards of field position and preventing any realistic chance at a desperation pass.

Elliott could be cut without significant salary cap implications on the $90 million, six-year extension he signed three years ago.

Schultz, who scored three touchdowns in the playoffs, played on the franchise tag and appears unlikely to do so again. It probably will take a long-term contract to keep him, and the Cowboys have some expensive priorities coming in the next few years.

POLLARD'S FUTURE

Running back Tony Pollard, who emerged as the best playmaker on offense, broke his left fibula against the 49ers when he was tackled in the first half.

He was on the final year of his rookie contract, and still will be rehabbing an injury that will require surgery when free agency opens in March. Pollard might be headed for the franchise tag.

RECEIVING VOID

CeeDee Lamb had a career season in his debut as the No. 1 receiver after the offseason trade of Amari Cooper in a cost-cutting move.

The Cowboys never really did figure out how to replace Cooper, though. Before the ill-conceived final play, Noah Brown (two catches) and T.Y. Hilton (one) were the only receivers with a catch after Lamb's 10 grabs for 117 yards.

Michael Gallup, who signed a $58 million, five-year contract last offseason, was shut out against the 49ers.

DEFENSIVE DECISIONS

Micah Parsons, an All-Pro in both of his seasons, is the anchor of a defense that led the NFL in takeaways in consecutive years. There are some questions about the supporting cast.

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas' first-round pick five years ago, had a strong season on a one-year contract after the Cowboys didn't pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

Fellow linebacker Anthony Barr, added as a free agent on a one-year contract in training camp, gave Dallas more flexibility in using Parsons as a pass rusher. Safety Donovan Wilson is a free agent.

KICKING QUANDARY

Brett Maher is a free agent after setting an NFL record with four missed extra-point kicks in the wild-card win over the Bucs. He had one blocked against the 49ers, but the kick looked as if it would have missed anyway. He finished the season by missing six of his last seven PATs.

It's easy to forget that Maher stabilized a shaky situation as a late add in training camp when a kicking competition flopped. Playoffs included, he was 31 of 34 on field goals (91%).

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US proposes once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans
U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot
1:05PM ( 10 minutes ago )
In a first, women's AP Top 25 has no teams from Texas
For the first time in the 47-year history of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll no team from Texas is in the Top 25
1:04PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Prescott, Cowboys stuck in divisional-round rut another year
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys still can't get out of their divisional-round rut
12:55PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Georgia football transfer Thomas jailed on felony charge
A wide receiver who recently transferred to Georgia from Mississippi State has been jailed in Athens on felony and misdemeanor charges
12:30PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Purdue back at No. 1 in AP Top 25, Alabama right behind
Purdue is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25
12:02PM ( 1 hour ago )
With Djokovic's leg OK, he sees Australian title realistic
It took about a week for Novak Djokovic to go from worrying about whether he simply could play a match at all on his injured left hamstring to thinking he can win the Australian Open
8:32AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
Bills' Hamlin attends 1st game since collapse, waves to fans
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin made his first public appearance Sunday since going into cardiac arrest three weeks ago during a game
9:21PM ( 15 hours ago )
Bengals return to AFC championship with 27-10 rout of Bills
Joe Burrow threw two touchdown passes, the Bengals swarmed Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen on a snow-slicked field and Cincinnati advanced to its second straight AFC championship game with a 27-10 win
9:15PM ( 16 hours ago )
Depleted Bills produce a dud in playoff loss to Bengals
The Buffalo Bills ended a season in which they overcame much adversity by producing a dud in a 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and the divisional round of the playoffs
8:38PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Football
NFL playoffs: Top-seeded Chiefs, Eagles handle business
Patrick Mahomes remains good at football even on one ankle
11:29PM ( 1 day ago )
Chiefs, led by hobbled Mahomes, beat Jags 27-20 in playoffs
Patrick Mahomes threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars and a place in their fifth straight AFC title game
9:19PM ( 1 day ago )
Busted first down chain slows Giants-Eagles playoff game
The NFC divisional playoff game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles was briefly stopped because of a broken chain
8:41PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
US proposes once-a-year COVID shots for most Americans
U.S. health officials want to make COVID-19 vaccinations more like the annual flu shot
1:05PM ( 10 minutes ago )
In a first, women's AP Top 25 has no teams from Texas
For the first time in the 47-year history of The Associated Press women’s basketball poll no team from Texas is in the Top 25
1:04PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Man who propped feet on Pelosi desk guilty in Jan. 6 case
An Arkansas man who propped his feet up on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the U.S. Capitol riot has been convicted of joining a mob’s attack on the building two years ago
12:53PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Kansas senator's reelection campaign scammed out of $690K
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran's office says someone scammed the Kansas Republican's reelection campaign out of $690,000 by getting his accounting firm to wire the money to fraudulent bank accounts
12:44PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Rep. Katherine Clark's daughter is charged in police assault
The daughter of Massachusetts Democratic congresswoman Katherine Clark was arrested during a protest on Boston Common and later charged with assault after a police officer was injured
12:39PM ( 36 minutes ago )