Tony Romo was relegated to an afterthought in his first game back from a broken collarbone. That's the power of Dakmania.
Cowboys backup Dak Prescott lit up the Miami Dolphins' secondary Friday night just like he did against the Los Angeles Rams last week. The rookie fourth-rounder showed off his full arsenal with back-shoulder throws, a long touchdown pass to Dez Bryant and a gorgeous rainmaker to Brice Butler that traveled more than 60 yards. Oh, and he also rushed for 28 yards and two scores.
A young backup quarterback will be popular in any town. But owner Jerry Jones must feel like he struck oil with Prescott after failed attempts to trade up for Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook in the draft.
All of the usual preseason caveats apply. Prescott is playing against vanilla schemes and often against backups. The Cowboys' offensive line is so good that it makes game action look like a 7-on-7 drill. But the kid now has more touchdowns (6) than incompletions (5). Prescott's decision-making and accuracy coming out of a spread offense have been more impressive than his athleticism. NFL quarterbacking isn't supposed to look this easy.
None of this means Prescott will be a superstar or that we should be taking "QB competition!" jokes seriously. Prescott will make mistakes and also has been fortunate, having an interception overturned Friday by a roughing the passer penalty. But it's not too early to say Dallas has a potential "quarterback of the future" to groom. That's a key position when you have a 36-year-old starter facing his football mortality.
Here's what else we learned Friday:
1. Romo's return to the field helped solidify his encouraging training camp. He looked like Romo, completing 4 of 5 passes and leading the Cowboys to a touchdown on his second drive.
2. Alfred Morris (13 carries for 85 yards) has looked so reliable all month that Darren McFadden could have a hard time passing him on the depth chart when McFadden gets healthy (one of them could also become available for a trade).
3. The healthy return of Dez Bryant also has been fun to watch. He keeps aggressively attacking passes like it's the regular season, and he beat Miami starter Byron Maxwell for one of his two catches.
4. Miami's 41-14 loss to Dallas flipped the team's preseason narratives. The defense was a sieve while Ryan Tannehill played very well. If not for an ugly Jordan Cameron drop, the Dolphins would have scored touchdowns in three of Tannehill's four drives.
5. Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills took a step toward bouncing back from a poor first year in Miami, grabbing three passes for 71 yards and two scores. His first grab came on a beautiful 55-yard bomb when coach Adam Gase had Tannehill on a planned roll out. Miami coaches have always strangely stayed away from calling Tannehill throws on the run, which might be his biggest strength.
7. The pitchforks will be out for Jets backup Geno Smith after an interception where he failed to see an underneath defender. Bryce Petty rallied the Jets' deep reserves for 16 points in the second half. Second-round pick Christian Hackenberg never got off the bench. Geno is still expected to keep the backup job, but expect media/fan push for Petty to compete.
8. The Washington Redskins sat a number of healthy key starters, including starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. That didn't prevent an injury to a valuable starter, with Matt Jones leaving the game after spraining his AC joint in his left shoulder. Chris Thompson is next on the depth chart and rookie Keith Marshall struggled for a second straight week.
9. Other injuries of note: Dolphins backup Matt Moore was evaluated for a concussion. Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa is in the concussion protocol after leaving the game. Chargers tight end Jeff Cumberland was carted to the locker room with an Achilles tendon injury and didn't return.
10. The Jets' starters and backups had a rough half against Washington, getting dominated on both lines of scrimmage. But that feels like a minor annoyance compared to the healthy return to the field by Darrelle Revis. He had a nice open field tackle and an end-zone interception in limited work. Despite all the great players up front, he feels like the key to the Jets' defense.
11. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will have plenty to swear about this week. The first five drives by the Cardinals included three first downs and two interceptions. Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers made an incredible play on a blitz to pick off Carson Palmer and score. Palmer had another pass that could have been intercepted.
12. San Diego has more defensive talent than most people realize. Rugged inside linebacker Denzel Perryman and free agent pickup cornerback Casey Hayward were among the standouts. It appears that Hayward will play on the outside for the Chargers, with Flowers in the slot. Arizona didn't score until there was under five minutes left.
14. There is definitely a new trend by NFL coaches sitting key starters in Week 2 of the preseason. Philip Rivers sat Friday, just like Aaron Rodgers, Teddy Bridgewater, Kirk Cousins and many others. It feels like a matter of time before the preseason is officially reduced a game.