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The Cowboys’ Dak Prescott is coming off a big performance against the Bucs, but an even bigger challenge awaits

The Cowboys’ Dak Prescott is coming off a big performance against the Bucs, but an even bigger challenge awaits

After the night in which Duck Prescott gave all the necessary answers and more, only one question came to mind:

What’s bigger than the biggest?

Confused? Let’s explain. Monday night gave Prescott the biggest performance of his postseason career, in the biggest game of his life, against the most storied rival quarterback of all, in the biggest show of evidence to sway those who say his skill set isn’t up to par. is one of NFLThis is, well, the biggest one.

But what will happen next for Dallas Cowboys and their seventh year quarterback? Even bigger.

Prescott was majestic at Raymond James Stadium as Dallas marched defiantly toward 31-14 trenching of Art Tampa Bay Buccaneers and right into an absolute humdinger on Sunday, the divisional round visit San Francisco 49ers (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX and the FOX Sports App).

Perhaps spurred on by a week in which he openly wondered if his 1-3 playoff record was an indicator that something was lacking, either in terms of mentality or toughness or technical prowess under pressure, he created a wonderful masterpiece, albeit one with a seemingly permanent scowl on his face.

“I wasn’t listening,” he told ESPN after the game. “I just didn’t listen to anyone’s opinions, anyone’s thoughts. Made sure I was aware of what I was putting into my head. Just focused on what I can do.”

In doing so, he reminded us that no one likes the narrative of his and the Cowboys’ postseason struggles — their first road playoff win since 1993 — more than he does, and that he’s on a mission to seriously rewrite history .

Next week against a 49ers team that looks like a juggernaut after 11 straight wins will be a tougher and tougher test than Tom Brady and Tampa were able to provide.

And yet, if there was ever a time to face such a predicament for Prescott, it would be now, with the confidence huge enough to match the hype that will cap the build-up to Sunday.

Make no mistake, San Francisco will not enjoy facing Prescott in this shape. No one would.

After all, the nervous young man of six years ago was not against it Green bay. Or the timid version that appeared against Los Angeles Rams in 2019. Or an inconsistent guy who hit the ground running too late against the Niners a year ago and saw time slip before his eyes.

It was a lively, confident, determined performance from a man who looked as if he felt it.

Prescott wanted to be there, wanted to be involved, wanted the responsibility, wanted the seriousness of the situation. He needs to want the next one just as badly.

At times it felt like he was playing Monday’s game in slow motion with everyone in real time. He read the pressure, reacted instantly and sucked the life out of the Bucs’ opposition.

In the end, nothing else mattered. No preamble. That’s not the record that said Brady was 7-0 against the Cowboys in his lifetime. Not cooling public opinion on Dallas after stuttering late in the campaign. Not their losing record on grass pitches. And no Brett Maher‘th section lost extra points.

Prescott was responsible for five touchdowns, one of them on a beautifully disguised run, a roll to the left, and also scored a throw to Dalton Schultz (twice), CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.

It wasn’t just him and the offense, of course, the way the Dallas D shut down Brady and his team was nothing less than a merciless stranglehold on that end.

However, if the Cowboys want to turn this campaign into anything close to what they dream of, they’ll need their $40 million-a-year QB, the man whose big deal started the current streak of similar contracts for top-end signal-callers a third of the league at his position.

Prescott wants a higher status than this, and if he can shine, when it matters, shine like thisthen he will convince many that he is a possible target.

He wants the Cowboys to be in that position every time, not fleetingly. And among QBs, he wants to be one of the big dogs.

Or bigger.

Martin Rogers is a FOX Sports columnist and contributor to the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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