The Cowboys pulled off a comeback for the ages on Sunday. There are so many stats and records that attest to this fact. For instance, the Cowboys were the first team ever to win a game when the opponent scored at least 39 points and had no turnovers. Teams had previously been 440-0 when that criteria had been met. You can go through the record books and find all kinds of interesting nuggets around the comeback. ESPN compared it to other amazing comebacks in this article. They had calculated that late in the second quarter the Cowboys had a 0.1% chance to win the game.
The NFL sent out this scrap of information late on Sunday.
The Cowboys are the third team in the past 15 regular seasons to overcome a two-score deficit in the final two minutes and win in regulation, joining the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (December 8, 2013 vs. Cleveland) and SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (December 14, 2008 at Kansas City).
The list of the miraculous goes on from this game. But none of it would have happened without the Cowboys team, the offense in particular, believing that they could pull it off. Or more likely, they believed that you just do what you can on each series after they had dug the team a 20-0 deficit with a series of turnovers in the first quarter. The offense had created the disaster, they needed to un-create it. They did, and credit goes to them for accomplishing the supposedly impossible.
When drilling down even further, the lion’s share of the credit goes to one player, Dak Prescott. After a shaky start when he was going to try an ill-advised flip pass while being tackled that ended up being a fumble and a turnover, he was brilliant. 34 completions on 47 attempts for 450 yards. 72% completion rate. He did that playing with two UDFA’s as his starting tackles. One a rookie, one a second-year player.
Prescott was simply unwilling to stop trying to win the game. Even after he got plastered on a personal foul penalty and was forced to the sideline for a concussion review, he simply returned to the game and promptly scored one of his three touchdowns on the ground. That 450 yards combined with three rushing touchdowns was a first ever in the NFL. Along the way, he had five touchdown drives that were over 74 yards. He wasn’t gifted any short fields in this game.
With some very inexperienced players on the outside of the offensive line, Prescott was still able to stand in the pocket and push the ball downfield. This wasn’t a checkdown situation that led to a 72% completion rate. He hit Amari Cooper for a 58-yard bomb. Michael Gallup came up with a 38-yard catch. CeeDee Lamb had a long of 37 yards. Blake Bell caught one for 24 yards. Prescott was making high-risk throws and nailing them.
Besides all of that, the Cowboys could count on him to get three touchdowns with his legs. They might have been relatively easy with two on QB sneaks, and the other on a read-option play near the goal line, but he still put 21 points on the board with his legs.
Ever humble, Prescott had this to say after the game.
“Yeah, sure, I had to find [the receivers] and had to make some plays here and there, but that was a team win all the way around. I think my stats today show just that. I wouldn’t have been able to throw for as many yards if the offensive line wouldn’t have protected the way they did and the receivers wouldn’t have got open.”
For sure, it was a team win. After a rough beginning, Terence Steele and Brandon Knight did settle down to do a reasonable job of protecting Prescott. And Cooper and Gallup pulled off a couple of circus catches that were huge in the game. Credit is due all around, and we can’t leave out the work done by Ezekiel Elliott after he decided to stop fumbling and start punishing the defense.
In the end though, this win belongs to Dak Prescott. He is the leader, he’s the guy who remains calm and keeps working. He’s the guy who willed this team to victory.
“No matter what the score is, Dak always has that same mentality – that we’re going to be able to come back and win that game,” [Ezekiel] Elliott said. “And he’s going to lead us to come back and do that. For him to go out there and be as clutch as he was and make the plays that he made, him and those receivers – it’s special.”
One for the ages, to be precise.