Dak Prescott still leads some big names in passing yardage despite missing the past month

·3-min read

It’s been over a month since Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott took the field, but he still holds bragging rights over some big-name quarterbacks. Despite playing only five games, Prescott still has more passing yards than two MVPs and one No. 1 overall draft pick.

That’s right, Prescott threw for more yards in five games than Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton and Baker Mayfield have thrown for in eight-plus games. In five games, Prescott threw for 1,856 yards. That figure ranks 21st in the NFL.

Jackson (1,762 passing yards) ranks 24th, Mayfield (1,646 passing yards) ranks 26th and Newton (1,535 passing yards) ranks 27th. Both Jackson and Mayfield have played nine games this season. Newton has played eight games. He missed one after being placed on the COVID-19/reserve list in October.

Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the New York Giants during an NFL game earlier this season.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for more yards in five games before being injured than Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton and Baker Mayfield have thrown for in eight-plus games. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

How does Dak Prescott still have lead in passing yards?

While Prescott deserves credit for his strong numbers in 2020, his immense yardage total was a result of the Cowboys’ porous defense. Dallas gave up at least 34 points in four of the team’s first five games. Prescott had to throw the ball to keep the Cowboys in those games.

Though he did his part, it didn’t lead to many wins. The Cowboys went 2-3 under Prescott to open the season. While that’s not impressive, the team has been much worse without Prescott, going 0-4 in the four games since Prescott dislocated his ankle.

Dallas’ struggles could help Prescott in the long run. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season and is eligible for the franchise tag one more time. The Cowboys, however, could commit to Prescott long-term by signing him to a massive extension. Either move will be a tough decision with Prescott coming off the injury.

What do low passing totals say about Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton?

It’s easy to look at Prescott’s passing yardage and assume Jackson, Mayfield and Newton are having awful seasons, but that’s not really the case. Both Jackson and Newton are dual threats and provide plenty of value in the running game. Jackson already has 524 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns this season. Newton has 335 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Both players have had some issues passing the ball in 2020, but they make up that value elsewhere.

Mayfield’s low passing numbers may be a victim of circumstance. The Cleveland Browns haven’t allowed Mayfield to throw much in 2020. He’s had only three games in which he had 30 passing attempts. By comparison, Prescott’s lowest passing attempt total in his first four games was 39. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has exceeded 30 passing attempts in all but one game this season.

Ultimately, leading the way in passing yardage doesn’t mean much. As Prescott showed, his team went just 2-3 despite his performance. Jackson and Mayfield may have fewer passing yards, but their teams sit at 6-3. That’s far more important than averaging 350-plus passing yards per game.

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