Responding to Ezekiel Elliott’s Instagram post, Prescott commended the star running back for his effort amid the 31-28 upset, writing, “Yesssssir!!! Way to lead 21”
Dak Prescott to Ezekiel Elliott after Cowboys win: “Yesssssir!!! Way to lead 21 ✊🏽” pic.twitter.com/4s4en8n1Lo
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) November 23, 2020
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Rising to the occasion in face of unfavorable press, Elliott returned to his workhorse status, logging 103 yards on 21 carries — his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season. He added two catches for 11 yards and a touchdown on a creative play design by offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
First time we’ve seen the Cowboys run this play to Ezekiel Elliott
Cowboys 6, Vikings 0 pic.twitter.com/xjAiXVxoZZ
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 22, 2020
It was the type of rebound that Elliott had to have despite sophomore understudy Tony Pollard, whom some felt should assume RB1 duties, averaging 12.0 yards per carry on five totes, including a 42-yard scoring scamper. The Andy Dalton-led Cowboys managed to complete a topsy-turvy comeback — Dalton hit tight end Dalton Schultz for a two-yard TD with 1:37 remaining in the fourth quarter — on the strength of the team’s best player, according to Jerry Jones.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and improved the Cowboys to 3-7, one game out of first place in the dismal NFC East — with a Thanksgiving matchup against 3-7 Washington looming.
“We never thought we were out of it,” Elliott said, per ESPN. “Our division’s been struggling this year. We’re right where we need to be with what’s been going on with the division. We’ve got to build on this success, so we can’t come out on a short week and take a step back against a division opponent. We’ve got to make sure we build on the success and keep getting better.”
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Zeke Praises Dalton
The 31-year-old veteran, making his first start since Week 7 after sustaining a concussion and contracting the coronavirus, will not be mistaken for Prescott. But he was more than adequate against an active Vikings defense.
Dalton completed 22-of-32 passes for 203 yards, three TDs, and one interception, earning an impressive 104.0 QB rating. His highlight, aside from the game-winner, was a four-yard loft to rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who … well, just watch:
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 22, 2020
Especially in contrast to rookie Ben DiNucci and new second-stringer Garrett Gilbert, Dalton was a refreshing change under center, bringing stability and ability to the sport’s most important position. Elliott liked what he saw.
“Andy’s a guy that’s played a lot of ball,” he said, per ESPN. “He’s a vet. I think he’s in year 10. He’s been in that moment a bunch of times. We trust him. … He was definitely clutch and came up big at the end.”
New Update on Dak’s ‘Full Recovery’ Process
Cowboys brass continues to speak in glowing terms about Prescott’s recovery from his season-ending ankle injury.
In a Friday radio interview, team COO Stephen Jones reaffirmed the franchise signal-caller is “ahead of schedule and rolling,” free of post-surgical complications from his right ankle compound fracture and dislocation.
“I haven’t run into Dak in the last couple of weeks. What I do is get these amazing reports on how he’s doing. It shouldn’t come as any surprise. He does everything to the 9s and the 10s, he just does it the very best. He’s been so diligent in his rehab, and that shouldn’t surprise anybody,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “They said (the team’s medical staff), if anything, he’s ahead of schedule and rolling. We expect him to have a full recovery. He avoided any of the complications that come anytime you have a bone that breaks the skin. You worry about infections and he certainly avoided any of that. We’re just fortunate to have a guy like Dak. It’s been tough not having him out there because his leadership is right at the top with his skill, and what he brings to the table as a quarterback in the NFL.”
A best-case outcome means Prescott is healed by February, before his scheduled foray into unrestricted free agency. Even a six-month scenario, however, the 27-year-old likely still would participate fully in the Cowboys’ offseason program, which begins in April.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL