The Associated Press
GLENDALE, Ariz.–Dak Prescott kneeled with his teammates and team owner before the game, flipped head over heels for a touchdown in the first half, and capped his night with a 37-yard TD pass that proved to be the winner.
The Dallas Cowboys erased last week’s ugly memory last night, with their young quarterback leading the way in a 28-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
“He just kept battling,” coach Jason Garrett said.
“He kept making good decisions,” Garrett added. “Obviously, he made some good plays, big-time throws, but as much as anything else, he’s got an amazing spirit and our players follow him.”
The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummelling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend.
After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline and stood for the anthem.
“We planned and it was executed that we would go out and kneel,” Jones said. “And basically make the statement regarding the need for unity and the need for equality.”
Prescott, 13-of-18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to go.
“I immediately scrambled and when I scrambled, Brice took the right angle and the right initiative going to the back of the end zone,” Prescott noted.
Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled.
Phil Dawson’s 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.
Ezekiel Elliott, who gained just eight yards on nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game.
But he still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, including 30 on one play.
He ran eight yards for the final Cowboys’ touchdown.
The Cardinals (1-2), playing their home-opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards.
The 13 receptions tied a career high.
“That’s Fitz. It’s Monday night,” Cardinals’ coach Bruce Arians said.
“He’s a money player. It was a great performance by him,” Arias added.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t play better around him.”
Carson Palmer had a big first half, completing 15-of-18 passes for 145 yards, and finished 29-of-48 for 325 yards and two scores.
He was sacked six times, including a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7.
Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession (19:34 to 9:41).
Arizona took the opening kick-off and went 82 yards in eight plays.
Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.
Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson’s 36-yard field goal try was wide right.
It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.
And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.
Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.