Dak Prescott has made for an awfully juicy two-week conversation. The Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback helped his team improve to 5-1 on the season, on the strength of a 30-16 win over the Green Bay Packers.
Prescott completed 18 of 27 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and set an NFL record for most consecutive passes without an interception to start a career at 163. The streak would end at 177 in the second half.
Meanwhile, Prescott's backfield mate Ezekiel Elliott ripped off 157 yards on 28 carries, to become the first rookie back in NFL history to post four consecutive games of 130+ rushing yards.
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Elliott and the Cowboys offensive line was facing a Packers defense that came into Sunday’s game ranked first in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game, at 42.8.
Dallas ran for 191 on Sunday.
The win is just the second victory at Lambeau Field in Cowboys franchise history, and their first since September of 2008.
The Cowboys put this game on ice early in the 4th quarter, when Prescott found Cole Beasley for their second touchdown hookup of the game. After faking a run block, Beasley threw his defensive backs hands to the inside, and broke hard to the sideline, where Prescott hit him wide open for the score, and the Cowboys led 27-9.
Earlier in the drive, a 3rd & 1 playaction pass to Lucky Whitehead picked up 35 yards for the Cowboys, on a play that no Packers defender saw coming. Whitehead ran right past the entire Green Bay secondary, as they keyed on the backfield, and a fake handoff.
Prescott did throw his first interception as a pro, ending an NFL-record streak of 177 consecutive passes without a pick. Late in the third quarter, the Cowboys rookie quarterback threw to Jason Witten, but was intercepted by Morgan Burnett on a ball behind Witten on a curl route.
"It was bad on my part, Witten was doing the right thing," Prescott said. "I just made a bad throw. It happens."
And then, with a smile - "Got that out of the way, now."
Fortunately for the Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers was off all afternoon. And that included on the ensuing possession, as he missed a wide open Randall Cobb in the end zone, for a touchdown that could’ve substantially changed the game. Instead, the Packers settled for a field goal, and a 20-9 deficit.
The Cowboys defense was outstanding in quick change scenarios, and also turned the Packers over four times. The four takeaways marks the highest total for Dallas since December of 2014.
The Cowboys most impressive drive of the day came in the final moments of the first half. Taking possession at their own three yard line, with 1:00 to play in the second quarter. After two short Elliott runs, a handoff to Lucky Whitehead on 3rd & 1 went for 26 yards, and suddenly the Cowboys had reason not to be conservative on this drive any longer.
The next snap, Prescott dropped back and found Terrance Williams on the right side, for 42 yards, and the Cowboys were into field goal range at the Green Bay 20. But there would be no field goal – the very next play was a Prescott beauty to Brice Butler on the right side of the end zone. Butler toe-tapped his feet in bounds on a ball placed perfectly over his outside shoulder, and the Cowboys had their second touchdown of the day, and a 17-6 halftime lead.
The Cowboys also started this game with a touchdown – their 5th score in 6 opening drives this season. Prescott hit Beasley for their first touchdown hookup of the day, capping an 8-play, 75-yard drive.
Dallas now hits their bye week, and a myriad of questions about Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant’s health, and much more, before their 7th game of 2016, when they host the Eagles on Sunday Night Football on October 30th.
- Tony Romo has missed 6 games. Orlando Scandrick has missed 4 games. Dez Bryant has missed 3 games. Tyron Smith has missed 2 games. Despite all that and more, the Cowboys are 5-1.
- Elliott is the only back in the NFL with more than 700 rushing yards (703). In fact, he's the only back with more than 600 yards, too. In order for that to change, Arizona's David Johnson will have to tally 143 yards or more on Monday Night Football.
- Dez Bryant was inactive for the third straight game, but had more positive things to say about Prescott. "He's the truth," Bryant said. "I've been telling you this since jump street. The guy is phenomenal, man."
- The victory snapped a five-game losing streak - including postseason - against the Packers, and a four-game losing streak in Green Bay (9/21/08).
- The Cowboys had a 97-yard scoring drive in the second quarter to mark the longest touchdown drive (yards) since a 98-yard scoring drive against St. Louis (10/23/11).
- For the sixth straight game, the Dallas defense did not allow a 100-yard rusher or a 100-yard receiver against the opposing offense. Dallas is one-of-two teams (Minnesota) in the NFL to not allow a 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver in a single game, and it is also the longest such streak since the team had six-straight games to start the 2011 season.
- Elliott’s 157 yards were the fourth-most by a Cowboys rookie runner in team history. DeMarco Murray (253), Tony Dorsett (206), and Julius Jones (196) are the only backs with better days as a rookie.
- Elliott’s 703 yards are also the second-most overall by a player in his first six career games in NFL history. Only Eric Dickerson's 787 mark is higher.