Prescott, Cowboys stuck in divisional-round rut another year

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — For all of the progress of the primary street playoff victory in 30 years, Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys nonetheless cannot get out of their divisional-round rut.

Now they’ve one other 12 months to consider it.

“They’re all impartial,” the Dallas quarterback mentioned after dropping to 0-3 in divisional video games, virtually half of the file seven consecutive losses on this spherical for the Cowboys.

“You’ll be able to’t take one from the opposite or take into consideration that. However all I can take into consideration proper now could be this sport and the way disillusioned I’m in my play at this level.”

Prescott threw two interceptions in a 19-12 loss to San Francisco, per week after simply his finest playoff efficiency in a victory at Tampa Bay that eradicated seven-time champ Tom Brady.

The Cowboys (13-6) have fallen wanting the NFC championship sport in 12 consecutive playoff appearances since profitable the latest of the 5 Tremendous Bowl titles for America’s Staff 27 years in the past.

Prescott was the issue early, however the protection was a giant letdown late by permitting two lengthy scoring drives and never getting Dallas the ball again with sufficient time for a sensible scoring probability.

The offseason focus, although, will likely be largely on Prescott’s failures.

He went from a private playoff-best 143.3 passer ranking in opposition to the Bucs to a playoff-worst 63.6 in opposition to the Niners. His career-high 17 interceptions, playoffs included, led the NFL.

Proprietor/common supervisor Jerry Jones stays dedicated to Prescott. The 2016 NFL Offensive Rookie of the 12 months has two years left on a four-year contract that pays $40 million per season.

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“We’ll come out of right here with one thing good out of this,” Jones mentioned. “That’s an edge. Tonight didn’t change my thoughts concerning the edge with him.”

MCCARTHY’S STIFF-ARM

Coach Mike McCarthy was photographed extending an arm into the lens of a TV cameraman whereas strolling off the sector after the sport.

The cameraman tweeted that he did not assume the coach pushed him, though the {photograph} made it seem he had. The cameraman mentioned he met privately with McCarthy, who he mentioned apologized.

Jones mentioned the newest divisional loss did not change his thoughts about McCarthy being his coach. Questions on McCarthy’s job safety proceed regardless of consecutive 12-win seasons that ended with playoff journeys, together with final week’s postseason victory.

ENDING WITH A THUD

Star operating again Ezekiel Elliott and tight finish Dalton Schultz may need performed their ultimate video games with the Cowboys. If that’s the case, each endings left one thing to be desired.

Elliott was the middle for an odd formation on the ultimate play, getting run over by a defender after the shotgun snap to Prescott. Receiver KaVontae Turpin was instantly tackled earlier than the Cowboys may begin pitching the ball on a play that started 76 yards from the tip zone.

Schultz inexplicably did not get a second foot down on the catch earlier than that play, costing the Cowboys about 15 yards of subject place and stopping any lifelike probability at a desperation move.

Elliott might be minimize with out vital wage cap implications on the $90 million, six-year extension he signed three years in the past.

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Schultz, who scored three touchdowns within the playoffs, performed on the franchise tag and seems unlikely to take action once more. It most likely will take a long-term contract to maintain him, and the Cowboys have some costly priorities coming within the subsequent few years.

POLLARD’S FUTURE

Working again Tony Pollard, who emerged as one of the best playmaker on offense, broke his left fibula in opposition to the 49ers when he was tackled within the first half.

He was on the ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract, and nonetheless will likely be rehabbing an damage that can require surgical procedure when free company opens in March. Pollard is likely to be headed for the franchise tag.

RECEIVING VOID

CeeDee Lamb had a profession season in his debut because the No. 1 receiver after the offseason commerce of Amari Cooper in a cost-cutting transfer.

The Cowboys by no means actually did work out the best way to substitute Cooper, although. Earlier than the ill-conceived ultimate play, Noah Brown (two catches) and T.Y. Hilton (one) have been the one receivers with a catch after Lamb’s 10 grabs for 117 yards.

Michael Gallup, who signed a $58 million, five-year contract final offseason, was shut out in opposition to the 49ers.

DEFENSIVE DECISIONS

Micah Parsons, an All-Professional in each of his seasons, is the anchor of a protection that led the NFL in takeaways in consecutive years. There are some questions concerning the supporting forged.

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas’ first-round decide 5 years in the past, had a powerful season on a one-year contract after the Cowboys did not decide up the fifth-year possibility on his rookie deal.

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Fellow linebacker Anthony Barr, added as a free agent on a one-year contract in coaching camp, gave Dallas extra flexibility in utilizing Parsons as a move rusher. Security Donovan Wilson is a free agent.

KICKING QUANDARY

Brett Maher is a free agent after setting an NFL file with 4 missed extra-point kicks within the wild-card win over the Bucs. He had one blocked in opposition to the 49ers, however the kick perceived to have missed anyway. He completed the season by lacking six of his final seven PATs.

It is easy to neglect that Maher stabilized a shaky state of affairs as a late add in coaching camp when a kicking competitors flopped. Playoffs included, he was 31 of 34 on subject targets (91%).

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