ARLINGTON, Texas — Dak Prescott attempted to downplay it.
He attempted to not consider the one-year anniversary of his grotesque ankle harm whilst a rematch with the similar opponent at the identical box awaited at some point wanting the 12 months mark.
His unconscious, he says, had different plans. Behind his thoughts, this recreation used to be other.
“I don’t know why I used to be in a gradual, I assume, psychological fog I felt early,” Prescott mentioned after the Cowboys’ 44-20 win. “I’d say I didn’t really feel slightly as lively or myself previous within the recreation.”
Prescott’s first quarter used to be rocky.
On fourth-and-2 within the first sequence, Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter swatted Prescott’s quick cross to the left and secured the ball for an interception.
At the Cowboys’ moment power of the sport, Prescott and Co. stalled within the purple zone. A play-action try to large receiver Amari Cooper fell incomplete, an end-zone dart to tight finish Dalton Schultz dropped. Dallas settled for a box purpose.
Then got here the Cowboys’ 3rd power, some other red-zone alternative, some other landing alternative at their fingertips. Prescott says he “simply more or less rushed the entire snap-to-handoff mechanics and threw the ball away proper there.” In what must were a split-second switch from middle Tyler Biadasz to Prescott to working again Ezekiel Elliott, the ball popped free. Giants linebacker Reggie Ragland recovered the fumble.
“Unquestionably can’t do this,” Prescott mentioned.
Earlier than lengthy, enthusiasts can be hard-pressed to bear in mind he had.
Prescott wanted simply 4 performs to attain in the second one quarter, pondering briefly as receiver CeeDee Lamb gained his liberate down the appropriate sideline. Lamb outraced Giants cornerback James Bradberry, protection Julian Love’s pursuit too overdue to meaningfully lend a hand.
Lamb stuck the Prescott dime in stride for a 49-yard landing cross.
Prescott fed off the power, snapping out of his funk.
“That landing to CeeDee used to be after I simply beginning rolling and were given within the groove,” Prescott mentioned.
For the overall 3 quarters, Prescott didn’t flip over the ball. He adopted up a 37.five% of entirety price within the first length with 79.2% all through the period of the sport. Prescott finished 19 of 24 passes in that reach for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Cowboys by no means trailed.
Prescott’s coaches and teammates have been much less able to pin a slow get started on their quarterback feeling off, as a substitute pointing to his composure as performs went askew. Multiple individual and issue contributed to every unfavorable play, they mentioned. They lauded Prescott for directing them to balance.
“By no means blinked,” Cowboys trainer Mike McCarthy mentioned of Prescott. “He’s so dang centered in the whole thing he does. His disposition by no means adjustments, his angle, his power. I feel it obviously used to be obtrusive in how he completed the sport, the numbers that he post.
“I assumed he performed really well, in particular after the ones two giveaways.”
Cowboys government vice chairman Stephen Jones praised Prescott’s “ ‘it’ issue” as a key to the win.
Even so, Prescott himself used to be prepared to recognize the emotional gymnastics he faced when the Giants retook the sector. A rash of New York accidents intended 3 separate avid gamers have been carted off the sector—working again Saquon Barkley with a badly swollen ankle, quarterback Daniel Jones with a concussion and cornerback Rodarius Williams with a knee harm.
Prescott needed the cart hadn’t want to arrive, the flashback of his immobilized ankle and tears streaming eyes returning when it did. He used to be cautious to shift his center of attention again to the sport briefly—however for a fleeting second, he used to be transported.
“After I noticed the cart, it for sure got here in my head,” Prescott mentioned. “Like, ‘Get that factor out of right here.’ However turn the web page fast. I’ve were given a brief reminiscence so clearly I considered it in that second, ideas went for it and hope (Jones) is OK, hope Saquon and all the ones guys. … (Then,) turning the web page and staying centered to what my task used to be.”
In the end, Prescott adopted up his preliminary Lamb landing with a 24-yard scoring strike to Cooper, a Four-yard landing cross to Ezekiel Elliott and increasingly more blank recreation control that established offensive dominance to the song of 515 general yards. The Cowboys threw for 300 yards whilst additionally gaining 200 speeding yards for the primary time since 1983.
The Cowboys progressed to Four-1 with their fourth-straight victory, Prescott extending his win streak vs. the Giants to 8 video games. He has now not dropped a competition to the department foe since his 2016 rookie season.
Prescott exchanged phrases postgame with Giants protection Logan Ryan, who tackled him at the harm play ultimate season and due to this fact mailed Prescott inspirational books. The quarterback reunited with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Prescott’s first NFL head trainer. Then Prescott went again to the locker room and located Cowboys director of rehabilitation Britt Brown.
Prescott hugged Brown, thankful for the person who driven him to once more stroll, run, soar and lower all through a long rehabilitation procedure. Brown informed Prescott he understood what the day intended.
“I’m happy it’s at the back of us,” Prescott mentioned of his harm restoration and its first anniversary. “I’m happy it’s over with. I’m happy I’m previous that.
“I feel this used to be the overall shovel in burying this factor.”
Observe USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.