The Cowboys scored 16 points in the last five minutes of Sunday’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons — kicker Greg Zuerlein hit a 46-yard field goal on the final play — to eke out a 40-39 victory at sparsely-filled AT&T Stadium.
The story of the afternoon was Prescott, who put the club on his back despite injuries to his offensive line (starting tackles La’el Collins and Tyron Smith were inactive) and a defense that bled points. The franchise-tagged signal-caller finished 34-of-47 for 450 yards and a passing touchdown. He added three scores on the ground, becoming the first NFL QB to ever throw for 400-plus yards and account for a troika of rushing TDs in a single game.
“Those are just statistics. That was a team (effort) all the way around. My stats are just a credit to the whole offense,” Prescott said in his post-game conference call, via The Athletic.
His supporting cast indeed benefitted from the 40-burger. Rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb led Dallas with 106 yards on six catches (the first Cowboys receiver to notch a 100-yard effort within his first two games) while WR1 Amari Cooper (6/100) also cracked the century mark. Running back Ezekiel Elliott, although he fumbled twice, collected 89 rushing yards and found the end zone.
All told, the Cowboys racked up 570 yards of total offense and 33 first downs across 14 drives. The unit went 7-of-13 on third-down and 5-of-6 in the red zone.
The massive performance would have been for naught had Zuerlein not nailed the perfect onside kick, giving Prescott and Co. the ball with 1:48 remaining — and, eventually, Mike McCarthy’s inaugural dub as Dallas’ head coach.
“I’ve seen it in practice but never seen it in live action. A beauty,” McCarthy said of Zuerlein’s onside conversion.
After last week’s gut-wrenching defeat to Los Angeles, this was a much-needed win for a 1-1 Cowboys squad that has a road date with Seattle next Sunday. It’s the type of momentum-builder that can serve as a watershed moment for Super Bowl aspirators still forming their 2020 identity.
“This is huge. Coach McCarthy said at halftime, ‘We need to be here. We need to be right where we are.’ He said the final score didn’t matter as much as finding out the type of men that we have, the type of fight we have within this team. This does so much,” Prescott said, per The Athletic.