Tying a Joe Montana mark, Cowboys’ Dak Prescott playing at MVP level

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Updated: November 19, 2019

6:00 AM ET

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott‘s numbers are getting ridiculous now.

Even he had to take a pause when his name was connected to former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana after Sunday’s 35-27 win against the Detroit Lions. When Prescott broke Roger Staubach’s team record for rushing touchdowns (21) by a quarterback earlier this season, he recognized the Hall of Famer’s greatness but shrugged off what the achievement meant to him.

The mention of Montana, however, elicited a different story. Prescott and Montana are the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four games of at least 375 yards passing and two touchdown passes through the first 10 games of a season.

“That’s what stats are for, to be able to look back and compare. For me, it’s about let’s go get another win and maybe I can get the fifth one,” Prescott said. “It’s all about moving forward, getting better. It’s humbling any time you’re thrown in with the name Montana. Yeah, I appreciate that.”

Prescott might be the best example of a player winning the bet-on-yourself plan in a contract year. His play should elevate him to NFL Most Valuable Player conversation. Prescott’s case would be helped if the Cowboys (6-4) can continue to win, especially Sunday at the New England Patriots (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

“He’s as good as anyone in the league and I think everyone on this team thinks he is,” Cowboys right guard Zack Martin said.

A quarterback who had not thrown for more than 3,885 yards in a season, Prescott is on pace for 5,154 yards. A quarterback who had not had more than 23 touchdown passes in a season, Prescott is on pace for 34.

In his past two games, Prescott has thrown for 841 yards, the highest two-game total in team history. His 444 yards against the Lions were the third most of his career. It was his third 400-yard game of the season, tying Tony Romo (2012) for the most in a single season in team history. He has three touchdown passes in each of the past three games, tying the team record.

He is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to open a career with 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in each of his four seasons. The others? Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Derek Carr.

“He’s a really confident player right now,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said. “He feels very convicted in what he’s doing, whether it’s Amari [Cooper], Randall [Cobb] or MG [Michael Gallup], whoever is out there. He does a great job of just going through progressions, finding guys and making plays.”

Prescott, 26, benefits from having running back Ezekiel Elliott; a strong offensive line highlighted by Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Martin; a move-the-chains tight end in Jason Witten; and one of the league’s better receivers in Amari Cooper.

Against the Lions, what made Prescott’s performance more impressive was that Elliott was limited in the running game and Cooper was not a central figure in the passing game (three catches, 38 yards). Gallup caught a career-high nine passes for 148 yards. Randall Cobb had 115 yards on four catches, including a touchdown. It’s the first time Cobb has recorded back-to-back 100 yard games since 2014, when he was with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

For the first time since 2001, the Cowboys had two running backs — Tony Pollard (21 yards) and Elliott (17 yards) — catch touchdown passes in the same game.

Prescott killed the game with a bootleg pass to tight end Blake Jarwin for 23 yards.

“That’s the name of the game,” Prescott said of spreading the ball around. “That’s what allows us to be balanced. That’s what allows us to put up these yards. If they want to try to take that away, that means they are giving us good boxes to run it. When you’ve got the playmakers we’ve got, you pick and choose. It’s all about us being able to dictate that and not allowing them to have us behind or have us in a situation where we can’t do things.”