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In the wild-card round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dak Prescott put together one of the best games of his seven-year NFL career. Despite starting the game 0-for-3 passing due to three dropped passes, Prescott finished the evening having completed 25 of 33 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 24 yards and a score on the ground. He was sacked just once and did not turn the ball over.

Next up for Prescott is the San Francisco 49ers -- the team that eliminated Dallas from the postseason a year ago. Ahead of the rematch, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan sang the praises of Prescott, noting how difficult it is to defend him when he is on his game. 

"Dak has always been a challenge," Shanahan said during his press conference, per a transcription provided by the team to 49ersWebZone.com, "when you're a pure pocket passer who can make all the throws in there and read the defense really well and get the ball to the right spots and do it accurately. That's why he's had the career he has and when things do break down, he's got a knack for how to get out of that pocket and make some off-schedule plays. That's why he has had such successful career so far."

Dak Prescott
DAL • QB • #4
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A "pure pocket passer" is certainly not the descriptor one would have assigned to Prescott when he entered the NFL out of Mississippi State back in 2016, but that is what he has become over the years. He struggled with turnovers this season -- he threw an NFL-high 15 interceptions, though some of those struggles were aided by four drops that turned into intercepted passes, as well as some poor luck, as his interceptable passes were dropped by opponents at half the league-average rate -- yet still finished the regular season ninth in the NFL in expected points added per dropback thanks to his willingness to push the ball downfield in an effort to create big plays. 

That's an area where Prescott struggled in the matchup against the 49ers last season, as he repeatedly checked the ball down underneath against San Francisco's soft zone coverages. He completed just 23 of 43 passes (53.5%) for only 254 yards (5.9 per attempt), one touchdown, and one interception in that contest, as Dallas' league-leading scoring offense sputtered to only 17 points in the defeat. It will be interesting to see how a much more aggressive version of Prescott fares against a very similar defense in both personnel and structure, particularly because the Cowboys will likely need him to maintain that aggression while replicating last week's turnover-avoidance if they are to keep up with what the San Francisco offense has been doing of late.