Cowboys QB Cooper Rush Sets Insane NFL Record in First Career Start

Cowboys QB Cooper Rush

Getty Cowboys QB Cooper Rush

In leading the Dallas Cowboys to an improbable victory, backup quarterback Cooper Rush accomplished a feat never done before Sunday night.

Rush threw the game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper in a 20-16 primetime conquest of the Vikings at Minnesota. According to NFL Research, that was the first time in the sport’s history where “the passer’s first name and receiver’s last name are an exact match.”

“Cowboys also have the only pass TD where passer’s LAST and receiver’s FIRST were an exact match: Andy Dalton-Dalton Schultz in Wk 11, 2020 at MIN,” NFL Research showed.

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McCarthy Praises ‘Season Veteran’ Rush

Filling in for an injured Dak Prescott (right calf strain), Rush completed 24-of-40 passes for 325 yards, two TDs, and one interception. He averaged 8.1 yards per pass and finished with a respectable 92.2 rating, looking little like a former undrafted free agent making his first career start.

Rush became only the second QB in Cowboys history to eclipse 300 air yards amid his starting debut, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“I was glad everybody got to see that, because that’s Cooper Rush,” head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game, per the official team website. “I think that’s a real strength of him. He plays the quarterback position like a seasoned veteran that’s played 10, 12 years in the league. That’s the man I get to see every day.

“He was ready to go, and that’s what the backup has to do: go in there every week and prepare because he’s one play away from getting in there. I think his performance reflected that.”

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Dak Reacts to Rush’s Performance

The Cowboys took their decision on Prescott down to the last minute, ultimately declaring him inactive and opting to entrust Rush with the keys to the league’s most potent offense. Rush had a rough go early in the game, tossing an interception to former Dallas safety Xavier Woods on his second series.

“I knew it was going to be a little bit of a moment until he (Rush) got settled in,” McCarthy said, per the official team website. “That’s normal coming over here. They’ve done a great job with their home-field environment. I thought once he got settled in, he ran the offense and handled the adjustments throughout the game.”

To his credit, the Central Michigan product did not let the pick affect his play. In fact, it seemed to have boosted it. Look no further than the third snap of the second half when Rush hit WR Cedrick Wilson in stride on a 73-yard catch-and-run score. Then, his mistake overcome, an eight-play, 75-yard march to pay dirt, culminating in Rush’s record-setting throw.

“That’s Coop,” said Prescott, per the official team website. “He’s very mild tempered and always that way – never too high or too low. It showed tonight. It allowed him to stay in there, stick to it, stick through some bad plays and come out and make some great plays to win the game that we needed in the fourth quarter.”