QB Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys moved to 4-2 and kept pace with the rest of the NFC with a 20-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night — and it was a victory HC Mike McCarthy’s club desperately needed.

The Cowboys were embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5 when Brock Purdy and Co. turned what was supposed to be a conference title game preview into a 42-10 rout.

Prescott threw for just 153 yards and tossed three picks, posting the second-worst game of his NFL career by adjusted net yards per attempt — a metric that adjusts how a quarterback’s performance is measured by placing weight on touchdowns and interceptions.

The former Mississippi State QB rebounded and then some, completing 21 of 30 attempts for 272 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers on MNF. But the work he did with his legs might end up charting a blueprint for the Cowboys’ offense moving forward.

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It’s Time for the Cowboys To Use Dak Prescott’s Legs

The Cowboys only scored 20 points against a Los Angeles defense that entered Monday 27th in efficiency. It wasn’t exactly a banner night for Dallas, but Prescott was outstanding, averaging 0.25 EPA per dropback — better than Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL-leading season-long mark.

Prescott rushed seven times for 40 yards against the Chargers. His seven carries marked his highest total in a game since Week 3 of the 2021 campaign when he took nine attempts for six yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.

His most critical carry came on a 4th-and-1 in the first quarter. After a shotgun play fake to RB Tony Pollard, Prescott kept the ball and scampered 18 yards to give the Cowboys their first touchdown.

It was a beautifully designed play. The motioning WR CeeDee Lamb captured the defense’s attention, while right tackle Terence Steele and right guard Zack Martin pulled to the left in sync with the fake to Pollard.

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Chargers rookie EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu bit hard on the play action, and Prescott had a clear path to the end zone.

Prescott hit his highest speed of the season (18.06 miles per hour) on his touchdown run, per Next Gen Stats. He reached an even faster speed (18.65 miles per hour) on a scramble on Dallas’ next drive.

The Cowboys have to start getting the most out of Prescott’s mobility, especially in the red zone. He’d had just two rushing attempts in 85 red-zone plays entering Week 6.

Heading into Monday night, Dallas’ red-zone touchdown rate (36.8%) was the sixth-lowest in the NFL. Using Prescott as a rushing threat should help improve the Cowboys’ effectiveness once they approach the goal line.

His mobility showed up on passing plays, too. He hadn’t been extending plays in recent weeks, even though that’s a skill he’s regularly displayed in the past.

On Monday, he was able to maneuver the pocket more effectively and move away from incoming pressure. Pollard did most of the work on the play below, but his 60-yard gain wouldn’t have been possible if Prescott hadn’t escaped the pocket to buy more time.

Dallas’ franchise QB wasn’t perfect by any means. The Cowboys still haven’t perfected the “Tush Push,” as Prescott couldn’t convert a second-quarter 4th-and-1 from the Chargers’ 13-yard line. He missed Pollard for what should have been a touchdown on Dallas’ final drive.

Still, it was the bounce-back performance that the Cowboys needed, and it might just give Dallas a few answers to their red-zone woes.

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