Dak Prescott Played One of the Most Impressive Comeback Games Ever

Statistically, offensive players returning from a serious injury shouldn't be this good

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys passes while pressured by Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium on September 09, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Prescott's impressive performance shouldn't be overshadowed by a last-second loss.
Dak Prescott threw for over 400 yards less than a year after a gruesome injry
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the returning Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay on Thursday night on the Buccaneers home field by a much tighter than expected 31-29 score. Perhaps an uncalled offensive pass interference penalty prevented a Dallas win. Or maybe it was a surprisingly terrible Cowboys kicking game (or ineffective running game).

One thing you can’t question: After a slow start, Dak Prescott was excellent. And considering it had been 334 days since the Cowboys quarterback had been on a field — following a gruesome ankle injury last October — a 42-58-403-3-1 stat line is astounding, particularly against TB’s suffocating defense and with Dallas’s best offensive lineman out for COVID-19 protocols. Prescott even had a higher passer rating than Tom Brady.

Over at CBS Sports, writer Bryan DeArdo goes one step further than being impressed: He essentially ranks it as the best performance by an NFL player after a major injury. Admittedly, the list doesn’t get too technical with what defines a “breakout performance” (although it seems limited to offense) or even a “major injury,” although missing most of a previous season seems to satisfy the latter category.

In the list, Prescott tops Ben Roethlisberger in 2020 against the Giants, Brady in 2009, Adrian Peterson in 2012 and Peyton Manning, in his Denver Broncos debut, also in 2012. Prescott’s numbers are certainly more eye-opening than the modest stats put up by the other four candidates, although those players did one thing the Dallas QB did not: They helped win their games.

No knock on Dak. Losing on a last-second field goal to Tom Brady and a returning Super Bowl champ is kind of an NFL rite of passage. “We’ll see y’all again,” Prescott said to the Bucs QB after the game. No surprise if they do.

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