In the thrill of a stunning and exquisite football game, and amongst the exaltation Aaron Rodgers rightfully deserves, let's not lose track of what we now know about Dak Prescott: He is the bright, shining future of the Dallas Cowboys.
Look no further than the fact he outdueled Rodgers, the Green Bay quarterback who over the past eight games has played some of the best football the quarterback position has ever produced.
Yes, Rodgers was amazing. No, this isn't some knee-jerk hateful hit-job on the Packers' QB or some ill-timed hot take.
Aaron Rodgers may make a case in the coming weeks as a guy with a real chance to make a run at being considered the greatest quarterback of all time. I'll cover that in the weeks ahead. But in the flurry of honoring the winners and their star, let's not lose track of what Dak did in the first playoff game of his life, while competing against one of the most daunting quarterbacks ever, against a team playing football with as much confidence, swagger and greatness as we've seen in a long time.
The rookie tossed three touchdowns and stayed calm while rousing his guys to a comeback after falling into a 21-3 hole -- and a 28-13 fourth-quarter deficit -- with the poise and calm of, well, an Aaron Rodgers.
It's not Dak's fault his coaching staff cost him a shot at overtime or the outright win. They were utterly outschemed at the start of the game, inexplicably called for a first-down, time-stopping spike with 49 seconds left in regulation. It killed the momentum, cost the rookie quarterback a critical down and gave Rodgers precious time to mount his own remarkable third-down game-winning bullet to Jared Cook that set up the winning field goal.
Let's not forget that Dak had just led his team down the field for a touchdown and then converted a pressure-packed two-point conversion on a quarterback scramble.
Rodgers was amazing.
Dak was just a little bit better.
Yes, the rookie had one big mistake -- an interception. So did Rodgers. Those scales balance out. The others don't. They lean Dak's way.
Dak for the day: 24-for-38 for three touchdowns, an interception and 302 passing yards. That's good for a QB-rating of 103.2.
Rodgers for the day: 28-of-43, two touchdowns, an interception, and 356 passing yards. His QB rating was markedly lower -- 96.7.
Dak also did what so many pundits and experts, even those who sang his praises heading into the game, worried he could not. He mounted that comeback after his defense put him and his team in a big, big hole. That's the stuff of all-timers, not rookies with someone like Tony Romo waiting (graciously on his end) in the background.
After the game, when asked his mindset when the team was down 28-13, he told reporters, "Go score. It was our only option."
And he did so, under massive pressure -- literally and figuratively. When blitzed against a Packers defense smelling blood, Dak was dizzyingly composed: 7-for-8 for 105 yards, two touchdowns and a 158.3 QB rating.
I mean, come on. That's just ridiculous.
Even Rodgers couldn't help but praise his young adversary.
"The guy is outstanding," he told reporters after the game. "A phenomenal year. The Cowboys have a bright future with Dak Prescott."
They sure do. He answered the call all season. He didn't buckle under the pressure of the moment Sunday. He led his team to tie the game with the season on the line, only to see it slip away.
He outplayed Aaron Rodgers on a night when both men played like Hall of Famers basking in the glow of the pressure, stress and challenge that come with facing a worthy adversary.