Prescott will undergo surgery Sunday night. His brother, Tad, posted a photo to Twitter showing the franchise-tagged signal-caller in a hospital bed, his Cowboys gear still adorned.
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Prescott was hurt midway through the third quarter of Dallas’ Week 5 win over the New York Giants. Called for a designed run, the 27-year-old was tackled awkwardly by Giants defensive back Logan Ryan following a nine-yard gain. He immediately reached for his lower leg as CBS cameras made it obvious the injury was severe.
In tears, Prescott had to be carted off the field, his leg in an air cast, and taken to the locker room, then an area hospital for further evaluation. He was scheduled for immediate surgery, abruptly ending a potentially historic season en route to a deserved multi-year payday for the two-time Pro Bowl passer, who’s playing 2020 on his one-year, $31.4 million franchise tender.
“First and foremost, the worst thing that happened today was the Dak injury, it’s bigger than football,” Ryan said after the game, via ESPN. “I feel terrible, it was a routine football play … You’ve got a guy, and I am in a similar position, he is scratching and clawing at one year on his deal to try and get rewarded, try to do the right thing, try to show up to work, try to lead his team, try to get a lucrative contract. He had to come out and prove it this year, so for him to get this type of injury, that’s why I feel like Dak — I hope he gets $500 million when he comes back. He deserves it. He is a hell of a quarterback.”
Several NFL players and personalities took to Twitter in reaction to the gruesome injury. Former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, now the Giants’ offensive coordinator, offered his encouragement to Prescott as he exited the field.
“I really feel sad,” Garrett told USA Today. “Dak’s a true inspiration to so many and I put myself at the top of that list. I love him to death.”
Prescott entered Sunday as the NFL’s passing leader, on pace to finish with an NFL-record 6,760 yards. He stacked three consecutive games of at least 450 passing yards, including a 502-yard, four-touchdown effort in last week’s loss to Cleveland. Prescott went 14-of-21 for 166 yards and an interception before the injury, chipping in an 11-yard TD reception from wide receiver Cedrick Wilson — the “Dallas Special.”
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Red Rifle to the Rescue
Former longtime Bengals starter Andy Dalton replaced Prescott, completing 9-of-11 passes for 111 yards. Dalton put the 2-3 Cowboys in position for a game-winning field with a 38-yard sideline strike to WR Michael Gallup in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Dalton, who signed a one-year deal with the team, will handle QB1 duties for the rest of the regular season. Seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci will serve as the primary backup, though it’s possible the Cowboys add to the room in the days ahead.
“You absolutely hate it for Dak. The way that he was playing this year and everything he’s put into it, I hate to see that for him. So it’s emotional,” Dalton said, via ESPN. “You hate that injuries happen in this game, unfortunately they’re part of it and I’m definitely praying for him. It’s been a lot of fun to be around him ever since I got here just to see how he works, see how he prepares and you can see with just the way that he’s been playing this year.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL