The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Halloween night, 20-16 to improve to 6-1, and they did it without their Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott.
Prescott practiced last week after suffering a calf injury in the Cowboys’ game against the New England Patriots. He was ruled ineligible on Sunday after a pregame workout.
Late in the fourth quarter backup quarterback Cooper Rush led the Cowboys on a game-clinching drive, capped by a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. Rush finished with 325 yards passing, and two touchdowns.
“I felt like I belonged out there,” Rush said. “In the huddle, breaking the huddle, getting to the line, going through your processes, it didn’t feel overwhelming at all. I haven’t played a lot but being around the NFL, you’re practicing against these guys every day and our defense is pretty good. … It never felt too big in terms of the speed. I just felt in command.”
No doubt Cowboys fans are singing Rush’s praises after that performance. His head coach, Mike McCarthy, believes Rush plays the position with poise.
“I was glad everybody got to see that, because that’s Cooper Rush,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He plays the quarterback position like a seasoned veteran.”
Prescott was so happy for Rush he chased him down in the tunnel after the game and gave him a huge bear hug.
Dak Prescott chases down Cooper Rush and envelopes him in a bear hug, after a dramatic win in Minnesota, and Rush’s game-winning touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. pic.twitter.com/hZAawd1EMD
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) November 1, 2021
Prescott wants to be back on the field, but he’s happy the team got the win and they are on track for the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
“I was getting prepared to play this game,” Prescott said after Sunday’s victory. “I’m a guy that takes it day by day, moment at moment, and right now, I’m going to celebrate this win with the guys and worry about rehabbing and getting everything back in order tomorrow.”
What does this mean for the Cowboys?
There’s an old saying in football. The backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town. But there is no controversy brewing here. For the Cowboys to reach their ultimate goal, Prescott will need to be at the helm.
The Cowboys are being cautious with Prescott, and they can afford to. They don’t play a team above .500 until Thanksgiving against the Raiders, and they don’t play an NFC team of consequence until a Dec. 2 matchup in New Orleans against the Saints.
The key for the Cowboys and their title chances is Prescott, and with any injury what you’re trying to avoid is re-injury or further compounding the injury. That’s why as much recovery as possible is crucial.
“I had a plan all week, trying to progress and get myself out there,” Prescott said. “We made a call at the end of having a chance to come out with win, without me playing, and be able to get healthy and not have something re-injure and linger past this week.”
The Cowboys next play the Denver Broncos on Nov. 7. No decision has been made about Prescott starting that game. But with another week of rehab and increased activity at practice, that’s a good sign for Dallas’ long-term goal this season.