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Dak Prescott has been sacked 45 times, by far the most in the NFL

New Orleans Saints v Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 29: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys gets sacked by A.J. Klein #53 of the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium on November 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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The Cowboys are riding high after Thursday night’s win over the Saints. But there’s one area where they have to improve.

That area is pass protection, where quarterback Dak Prescott was sacked seven times last night and has been sacked a whopping 45 times this season, by far the most in the NFL.

So far this season, Prescott has thrown 364 passes. If you calculate “dropbacks per sack” as (attempts+sacks)/sacks, Prescott gets sacked about once for every nine times he drops back. That’s bad: The average NFL quarterback gets sacked about once for every 15 times he drops back.

Prescott has already been sacked far more this season than he was sacked in either his rookie year (25 sacks) or his second year (32 sacks) even though he threw far more passes in those two seasons than he’s thrown so far this season.

A part of the problem for the Cowboys is that All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith has missed the last two games. But the problems go beyond just Smith; Prescott had already been sacked a career-high 34 times in the 10 games Smith started.

Prescott himself has to bear some of the blame for failing to see the pass rush coming and get rid of the ball in a hurry. For the Cowboys to keep winning, they’re going to need to take better care of Prescott, and for Prescott to take better care of himself.