GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Dak Prescott kneeled with his teammates and team owner before the game, flipped head over heels for a touchdown in the first half and capped his night with a 37-yard TD pass that proved to be the game winner.
The Dallas Cowboys erased last week’s ugly memory on Monday night, with their young quarterback leading the way.
“He just kept battling,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “He kept making good decisions. Obviously he made some good plays, big-time throws, but as much as anything else he’s got an amazing spirit and our players follow.”
The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Donald Trump over the weekend.
After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline and stood for the anthem.
“We planned and it was executed that we would go out and kneel,” Jones said, “and basically make the statement regarding the need for unity and the need for equality.”
Prescott, 13-of-18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-all tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.
“I immediately scrambled and when I scrambled Brice took the right angle and the right initiative going to the back of the end zone,” Prescott said.
Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson’s 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.
Ezekiel Elliott, who gained eight yards on nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran eight yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.
The Cardinals (1-2) got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards. The 13 receptions tied a career high.
“That’s Fitz. It’s Monday night,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s a money player. It was a great performance by him. It’s a shame we couldn’t play better around him.”
Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15-of-18 for 145 yards and finished 29-of-48 for 325 yards and two scores.
Palmer was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-all.
Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.