The Cowboys were clinging to a one point lead and driving with a chance to increase it when quarterback Dak Prescott was taken down awkwardly, resulting in a compound fracture and the end of his 2020 season.
In a matchup with the rival Giants, and first place in the NFC East within reach, former TCU QB Andy Dalton came off the bench in relief, ultimately leading the Cowboys to an improbable victory.
Dalton took the field in the third quarter, facing a 2nd and 1. After taking a sack on his first drop back, the veteran found CeeDee Lamb for 11 in 3rd and 6. Ezekiel Elliott took it from there, taking it to the house from the 12 yard line to give the Cowboys a 31-23 lead. The teams traded punts on the next two drives before the Giants answered with a field goal, and an Andy Dalton fumble on Dallas’s next drive allowed the Giants to take a 34-31 lead.
Dalton was ready though, directing an 11 play, 53 yard field goal drive of his own — and taking 6:50 off the clock in the process. He completed a big pass to Tony Pollard on 2nd and long and found Lamb for 10 on 3rd and 19 to create an easy opportunity for Greg Zuerlein to tie things up from 40 yards with under two minutes to play.
The Dallas defense stepped up on the Giants’ ensuing possession, holding New York to just 15 yards on 5 plays that took just 1:04 off the clock. That put the ball back in Dalton’s hands, and he would start from his own 12, needing a field goal to win.
As he has done time and time again in DFW, Dalton delivered.
A 15 yard completion to Amari Cooper on second and long allowed the Cowboys’ to take some risks, and Michael Gallup was ready to make them pay off. First, there was this toe tapper on the sideline after Dalton kept the play alive with his feet:
… and then the play of the game, hauling in this 38 yarder on an absolute dime from Dalton:
With just three seconds remaining, Zuerlein barely squeaked the 34 yard field goal through, giving Dallas the win and first place in the division.
Dalton finished the day 9-11 for 111 yards in limited action. Going forward, it’s likely to be his job, with Prescott undergoing surgery Sunday night on his ankle.
We certainly wish Dak well as he recovers, but TCU fans will enjoy watching the former Frog in action near his adopted hometown. Dalton, who is on a one-year deal, also gets a chance to revive his career and prove himself as a starter once again.