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Jason Garrett on Dak Prescott: 'He was fantastic'

The season is over for Dallas, but don't blame this one on Dak Prescott.

Going punch-for-punch with the mystical on-field powers of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, the Cowboys rookie quarterback nearly played the role of hero in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Showing icy calm, Prescott shook off a shaky start to lead Dallas to points on five of the team's final six drives. Along the way, he masterfully erased an 18-point deficit to tie the game at 31-31 with less than a minute left on the clock.

Rodgers took it from there, whipping the Packers downfield to set the table for Mason Crosby's game-sealing 51-yard field goal. The wild ending invariably rendered Prescott as the B-storyline on Sunday, but not for a Cowboys team that rides into the offseason utterly certain of their new franchise passer.

"He was fantastic," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after the game. "I thought he handled the situation well. When you're down 21-3, it's easy to start getting out of yourself and doing things that are uncharacteristic."

Said Garrett: "In so many ways, it was positive. Not the ideal start, but again, the guys battled back and demonstrated who they are."

Unaware that social media -- doubling as a cesspool -- was alive with hot-takers calling early for Prescott to be yanked in favor of veteran Tony Romo, the rookie never panicked, slowly but surely mining his team back into the game with each new possession.

If Prescott hurt the team with an ill-advised screen pass that was picked off by Packers safety Micah Hyde, he was at his best in the fourth quarter, generating 18 points over the final 12 minutes of play en route to 302 yards passing with three touchdowns and the turnover.

His first touchdown march of the final period saw Prescott peg passes of 19, 10, 19 and 15 yards before hitting tight end Jason Witten for a 6-yard touchdown strike. On the Cowboys' following possession, the rookie found wideout Dez Bryant -- who finished with a season-high 132 yards -- for a pretty 7-yard score. On the following snap, Prescott waltzed into the end zone for a game-tying two-point conversion.

He wasn't done.

After Green Bay quickly kicked another field goal -- taking a 31-28 lead -- Prescott was asked to tie the game again with 1:33 left. Showing zero panic, the fourth-round pick quickly hit Terrance Williams for a 24-yard gain before rattling off two more completions to the Green Bay 33 -- sweet-spot territory for the ultra-trusty Dan Bailey, who nailed the kick for a 31-31 tie.

The only mistake Prescott made, if any, was leaving 40 seconds left on the clock, more than enough time for Rodgers -- operating from a rare place -- to whisk his offense into Dallas territory for Mason Crosby's game-winning field goal with three clicks left. Game over.

The defeat stings, but Prescott's performance should only reaffirm the team's trust in their young passer heading into 2017. Amid whispers that Romo will be dangled as trade bait, nothing that happened on Sunday should dissuade Dallas from moving on.

It's no slight to Romo -- he's going to play elsewhere and win games -- but the concept of a battle under center makes little sense after what Prescott has shown in 2016.

From where we stand today -- he's the farthest thing from a rookie.

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