Despite Dak Prescott’s impressive return, Cowboys lose

Sep 9, 2021, 9:15 AM | Updated: 10:23 pm

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Dak is back, and he’s still not enough for the Dallas Cowboys.

Playing his first game since suffering a gruesome ankle injury 11 months ago and then signing a $160 million contract, Dak Prescott was outstanding against a defense that shut down Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl and returned every starter.

Prescott completed 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. But the Cowboys couldn’t stop Tom Brady on the final drive and Ryan Succop’s 36-yard field goal gave the defending champion Buccaneers a 31-29 victory Thursday night to open the NFL season.

Dallas forced four turnovers but Greg Zuerlein missed a 31-yard field goal and an extra point. He hit a go-ahead 48-yarder with under two minutes left, then the Cowboys’ shaky defense couldn’t stop Brady from engineering the winning drive.

“We’ll see y’all again,” Prescott said to Brady after they shook hands following the game.

Prescott didn’t play in the preseason after dealing with a shoulder problem in training camp, but showed no ill effects of his injuries right from the start.

Backed up on his 2-yard line for his first play in 333 days, Prescott dropped back and lofted a beautiful 28-yard pass to a wide-open Amari Cooper. He picked apart Tampa’s secondary after cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting left early with an elbow injury.

Prescott tossed a perfect 22-yard TD pass to CeeDee Lamb in the first quarter. He connected twice with Amari Cooper for scores of 5 yards and 21 yards.

Prescott moved around the pocket, escaped some hits, scrambled four times and only was sacked once.

“I thought Dak played well,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “I really like the way our team played, the preparation coming into it. Knew we were coming into a tough environment, Dak included. We had tough looks, particularly some of the things they did defensively. I thought our guys did a good job adjusting, did a good job distributing the ball on the perimeter.”

If the Cowboys can figure out their defense under new coordinator Dan Quinn and Prescott stays healthy, they’ll be the team to beat in a weak NFC East.

Prescott was on pace to set a record for yards passing last year before he got hurt in Week 5. He threw for 1,859 yards and nine TDs in less than five full games. He picked up where he left off against one of the league’s best defenses.

The Cowboys were only 2-3 with him last year because their defense was on the way to allowing a franchise-record 473 points. If it weren’t for the four turnovers, Dallas may have allowed 40 points to Tampa Bay.

“I’ve known Dak a long time and have so much respect for him as a person and an athlete,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “What he did at Mississippi State is legendary. A tremendous leader. It’s a shame he had to take a break.”


More AP NFL: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Horse trainer Bob Baffert leaves federal court July 12, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New...
Associated Press

Baffert: 2-year Churchill Downs suspension hurt reputation

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs never gave advance notice nor reached out to explain its two-year suspension, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Friday in federal court, and reiterated that the penalty has caused irreparable harm to his business and reputation. Baffert has sued the historic track and is seeking a temporary injunction […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Caddie for amateur at Pebble Beach collapses during tourney

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The caddie for an amateur in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am collapsed on the 11th fairway Friday and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated. The PGA Tour did not release the name of the caddie or whether he was working for country singer Lukas Nelson or Pebble Beach […]
16 hours ago
FILE - United States Rosey Fletcher clears a gate during the women's snowboard parallel giant slalo...
Associated Press

Snowboarders sue coach, USOPC in assault, harassment case

Olympic bronze medalist Rosey Fletcher has filed a lawsuit accusing former snowboard coach Peter Foley of sexually assaulting, harassing and intimidating members of his team for years, while the organizations overseeing the team did nothing to stop it. Fletcher is a plaintiff in one of two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles […]
16 hours ago
A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Cir...
Associated Press

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide. The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly […]
2 days ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video ...
Associated Press

Column: IOC talks tough on Russia — until Paris on horizon

The IOC likes to talk tough — as long as it’s not heading into an Olympic year. Not surprisingly, as we draw ever closer to the cash cow that is Paris 2024, the hypocrites running the Olympic movement are eager to get Russia back in the games. They’ll surely find a way, despite Vladimir Putin’s […]
2 days ago
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Trent McD...
Associated Press

Menacing charge against Bengals’ Joe Mixon is dismissed

CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals running back Joe Mixon no longer faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing over allegations that he threatened and pointed a gun at a woman in Cincinnati. A Friday order dismissing the case in Hamilton County Municipal Court said only that the city prosecutor’s office requested the dismissal “in the interest […]
2 days ago
Despite Dak Prescott’s impressive return, Cowboys lose