Ezekiel Elliott ran for 138 yards and a touchdown, and the Dallas Cowboys came back from an early 14-point deficit to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 24-17 Sunday.
Elliott hit his groove in the second half, carrying 14 times for 96 yards and scoring in the third quarter, after tallying 42 yards in the first half. Elliott played a major role in the Cowboys 10-play, 83-yard drive eating up 5:49 off the clock, leading up to his touchdown run from a yard away.
Mo Claiborne played another very strong game, including his first interception since September 21st, 2014, and sealed the game with a tackle on 4th down to take the ball back from the 49ers for good.
"Mo's overcome a lot throughout his career," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's playing the best football of his career."
Dak Prescott played a fourth consecutive solid game, completing 23-of-32 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Prescott again avoided throwing an interception, increasing his total to 131 attempts to start his career without throwing a pick.
But Prescott isn't impressed with himself. Or at least he's not showing it.
"I'll say it every time you ask me, I'd like to be 4-0," Prescott said. "But we won. We got a big road win. Good team win today. So that's big, and we've just got to keep going."
The 49ers started the game hot, driving the length of the field on consecutive possessions, converting on each of their first six third down tries, to take a 14-0 lead. Blaine Gabbert hit Jeremy Kerley on a 33-yard touchdown pass, to cap their opening drive. Carlos Hyde finished off a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, and the 49ers led by two touchdowns.
But Prescott and the Cowboys made a very impressive, and very quick, comeback. Prescott finished a 8-play, 61-yard touchdown drive by hitting Terrance Williams for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
"Terrance went up and made a great catch, to get us in the end zone," Prescott said, crediting his wide receiver who came back to the ball on a back-shoulder fade.
Then Prescott led a brilliant, 11-play, 58-yard, 1:38 drive in the final two minutes of the first half, culminating in a hookup with Brice Butler for a 4-yard touchdown, and the Cowboys had tied the game at 14.
"It's what this team is all about," Garrett said of the comeback. "That's how we built this team. Great character guys...we just fight."
The Cowboys comeback was engineered by a rookie, third-string quarterback, a rookie running back, and a collection of backups thrust into duty by injuries around the roster.
"Not only the rookies, but the backups," Garrett applauded. "Number of backups in the game on both sides of the ball. Guys just stepping up, prepared.
"Our guys just kept fighting. They just kept battling. Guys somehow, some way were going to figure out a way to get it done. Damn good win for our team."
The Cowboys were without All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant, Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo, All Pro left tackle Tyron Smith, and nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick. All four missed the game due to injury.
The Cowboys defense, which had struggled mightily on the first two possessions, then locked in. The 49ers only mustered a field goal in the second half, as Mo Claiborne led the way. Claiborne's interception came on a deep ball by Gabbert. That led to a 4th quarter field goal by Dan Bailey to make it 24-17.
Elliott’s touchdown run came in the third quarter, giving Dallas a 21-17 lead.
Dallas improves to 3-1 on the year, and now returns home for a date with the Cincinnati Bengals on October 9th at AT&T Stadium.
- Ezekiel Elliott now leads the NFL in rushing, with 412 yards on the season. He is the only running back in the league to eclipse 400 yards in the first four games, and only the second back in the league (LeGarrette Blount) to tally multiple 100-yard games this season.
- Prescott's 131 passes without an interception to start a career are the most in NFL history. For now. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz also has a streak going. He's at 102, and plays his fourth game of the year on Monday night. The two have alternated holding the record, week by week.
- The Cowboys won the time of possession battle for the fourth straight game. Dallas controlled the football for 36:27 of the game -- a 13 minute edge on San Francisco. The Cowboys ran 20 more plays than the 49ers, tallying 428 yards (295 for San Francisco).
- After converting their first six 3rd downs, the 49ers were 2-8 the rest of the game.
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