For the first time since 2007, the Dallas Cowboys have a new starting quarterback in rookie sensation Dak Prescott.
The fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State was named as the franchise starter after Tony Romo was placed on injured reserve in the preseason.
Ever since then, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys haven’t looked back.
Dallas is 8-1 with their only loss coming in Week 1 to the New York Football Giants; a game in which Prescott and rookie running back, Ezekiel Elliot both started in their first NFL outing but still combined for a total of 278 yards.
Since that opening loss, the Texas outfit have been flawless, winning their last eight straight on the back of their two-headed rookie monsters – Prescott and Elliot.
While the former is in the middle of the pack by going 187-280 for 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns, he has been one of the most efficient passers in the NFL.
He’s third in yards per attempt (8.35), fourth in QBR (106.2) and in the top 10 in completion percentage (66.8%).
For the first half of the season, it was assumed that Romo would slot right back into his position when he recovered, but Prescott has been performing at such a standard that the rookie has forced the team’s hand into keeping him on as a starter.
Romo conceded his position in a press conference Wednesday (US time).
“He’s earned the right to be our quarterback,” admitted the veteran, “As hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right. He’s guided our team to an 8-1 record, and that’s hard to do.”
Now that the whispers surrounding Romo, Prescott and the quarterback are gone and the old stager has officially passed the torch, it means the team can go all-in on their rookie combination.
The other half of that combo, Ezekiel Elliot, has set the league on fire and has made a legitimate case for best running back in the league.
Prescott’s performance might have come as a surprise to some, the fourth-overall pick was expected to make a big impact from the get-go.
Elliot has already passed 1,000 yards on the season, leading the league at 1,005 yards on 198 attempts.
He also leads the league in 20+ yard runs (8), yards per game (111.7) and first downs (58) while ranking near the top in virtually every other category.
At this stage, Elliot is on track to become the first rookie since 1999 to win the rushing title in his rookie campaign.
Not only has Elliot performed well statistically, he’s also come through with clutch plays, none more so than his game-winning touchdown run last week at Pittsburgh.
The Cowboys were down by one in the final minute of the game and everyone was anticipating a last-second field goal attempt when on 1st and 10; Elliot magically broke through the Steelers’ line, going untouched for a 32-yard touchdown that sealed the game for Dallas.
Now that the drama surrounding the quarterback position has dissipated and the Cowboys have proved themselves to be legitimate contenders, the biggest question remaining is how far can Prescott and Elliot take this team?
With a relatively easy schedule, the Cowboys could potentially end the season with 14 wins and are just about a lock to take the NFC East.
When Tony Romo was at the helm, the Cowboys were routinely mocked for not being able to come through in the playoffs.
But now, barring a playoff capitulation, they look to be on track to meet the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC Championship and a place in the Super Bowl.
The Cowboys haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1996, but can the rookie tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot take them back to the Promised Land for the first time in 20 years?