Prescott ignites stagnant Cowboys offense in win over Cardinals
A short field was the Cowboys' friend and Dak Prescott made sure his team took advantage of it, leading Dallas past the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 in the NFL.
Prescott led scoring drives of 33, 46 and 50 yards to see the Cowboys to victory at University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday.
Prescott also led a four-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter and accounted for three Cowboys touchdowns. He finished the night 13 of 18 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score as the Cowboys' offense finally looked like the unit it was a season ago.
The Cardinals got off to a quick start, going 82 yards in eight plays on the opening drive that ended with a 25-yard pass from Carson Palmer to Jaron Brown. The Cardinals, who held the ball for all but one minute, 54 seconds in the first quarter, nearly added to their lead early in the third quarter.
A second touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty. Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson then pushed a 36-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The Cowboys had just 57 yards of total offense at half-time, but capitalised on short field thanks to a 21-yard Ryan Switzer punt. The rookie from North Carolina set the Cowboys up at the Cardinals' 33-yard line and three plays later, Prescott flipped over a pair of Cardinals defenders for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game before half-time.
The Cowboys took the lead in the third quarter thanks to another incredible individual effort, this time from Dez Bryant. The Cowboys receiver caught a short pass, made a pair of defenders miss and then powered his way through a group of Cardinals to cross the goal line.
A perfect pass from Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald in the corner of the end zone resulted in a 15-yard touchdown to tie things at 14-14.
Fitzgerald caught 13 passes for 149 yards to give him 127 career games with at least five receptions, the third-most since 1950. Only Jerry Rice (166) and Tony Gonzalez (139) have more. Fitzgerald, who is third all-time in receptions, also passed Marvin Harrison for eighth place on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list.
Prescott, the NFL's rookie of the year last year following a record-setting season, had just three touchdowns with two interceptions in the Cowboys' first two games. After Dallas ran just three plays in the first quarter, Prescott ignited the Cowboys' offense with his diving score.
COOL UNDER PRESSURE
The Cowboys took the lead for good as Prescott rolled away from pressure before delivering a strike to Brice Butler, who made a leaping grab in the end zone.
"I was just hoping I didn't helicopter," Prescott said of his touchdown run. "I'm thankful I just went straight over."
The Cowboys sacked Palmer, who threw for 325 yards on 29-of-48 passing, six times. He was never able to get into a rhythm despite Fitzgerald's big night. Doing most of the damage for the Cowboys was defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who had three of the sacks.
After scoring just 36 combined points through the first two weeks, the Cowboys gained confidence as Monday's game went on. A confident team are a dangerous team and the Cowboys will look to build on Monday's win heading into next week's home game against the Rams, who lead the NFL in scoring.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, might be in trouble. The Rams are improved and the Seahawks are still considered the best team in the division. Arizona's offensive inconsistency is frustrating head coach Bruce Arians and might be the reason the Cardinals are sitting home in January.