Dak Prescott has had his contract with the Dallas Cowboys restructured.

After seeing his 2020 season cut short by injury, Prescott played 16 times in 2021, as the Cowboys clinched the NFC East with a 12-5 record.

The quarterback led a prolific offense that finished the season with a league-high 530 points, yet the Cowboys fell short in the playoffs, losing to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round.

Prescott's tally of 4,449 passing yards ranked seventh in the NFL, while his completion percentage of 68.8 was fourth and only three quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns than his 37.

In 2021, the 28-year-old restructured his franchise-record $160million deal to create space for the salary cap and it is a similar story this time around.

With a $208.2m cap announced on Monday, teams have until March 16 to create financial wiggle room and the new structure of Prescott's deal will result in roughly $15m being saved before the start of free agency.

Five-time All Pro Zack Martin has also had his deal restructured, which will give the team an additional $7m in cap space.

The restructuring of the deals sees a portion of the players' salaries for 2022 being converted into signing bonuses.

Dallas needed the space after placing a $10.9m franchise tag on tight end Dalton Schultz.

Only four tight ends scored more than Schultz's eight receiving touchdowns last season, as he racked up a career-high 808 receiving yards.

However, Dallas will still need to make more changes to get under the cap.

According to reports, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has declined a pay cut, while Blake Jarwin has also been approached by Dallas to take a hit on his salary.

ESPN, meanwhile, reported that Amari Cooper is likely to be released, which would free up $20m in cap space.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has taken to social media to apologise for comments he made about the officials following their last-gasp 23-17 playoffs defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Prescott felt he had spiked the ball in time to get one more shot at a game-winning touchdown in a bizarre ending to their Wild Card round loss.

The officials ruled that Prescott had not spiked the ball in time, as NFL rules state the ball must be spotted by an official which umpire Ramon George attempted to do, colliding with Prescott and Tyler Biadasz causing a delay that prevented the QB from getting a Hail Mary away.

Prescott was asked after the game about fans throwing objects at the officials, to which he replied: "Credit to them, credit to them."

However, the Cowboys quarterback apologized for those comments on Tuesday via a Twitter post.

"I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair," Prescott said.

"I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.

"That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry."

In his pool report after the game, referee Alex Kemp insisted umpire George had done everything correctly in spotting the ball.

The referees association posted on Tuesday via their official Twitter account: "The NBRA condemns the comments by Dak Prescott condoning violence against game officials.

"As an NFL leader, he should know better. We encourage the NFL to take action to discourage this deplorable behavior in the future."

Dak Prescott deflected praise after setting new milestones with the most touchdowns in a single season in Dallas Cowboys history and a career-high five touchdowns in Saturday's 51-26 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 28-year-old Cowboys quarterback completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns against the under-strength Eagles.

Prescott, who missed the bulk of last season with an ankle injury, went past Tony Romo (36) for the most touchdown passes in a single season.

"It's special," Prescott told ESPN after the game. "A record like that that's this team, that's this offense.

"All the different guys that caught passes or the guys that protected, everybody played a part in it. I'm just the beneficiary of it.

"But to know where I was 12 months ago and to be where we are now, headed to the playoffs, I'm very excited."

The Cowboys win means they must wait on Sunday's results to learn their playoffs fate but they can be as high as the second seed in the NFC after finishing with a 12-5 record.

Among Dallas' potential playoffs match-ups is the 11-5 Arizona Cardinals who defeated the Cowboys last weekend 25-22.

"It doesn’t matter," Prescott said when asked if he wanted to face the Cardinals again to get revenge.

"Line them up. To get to where we wanna go, you've got to beat the best. Whoever it is, wherever it is, we're ready for this run."

The Cowboys piled on seven touchdowns against the Eagles, with five different scorers meaning they set a new NFL record for most players (22) to score TDs in a single season.

"We got some momentum going," Prescott said. "We were able to score some touchdowns on offense. We had some success running the ball and throwing the ball.

"More importantly the momentum, the rhythm and fun. The camaraderie we have, we just played together and wanted to finish the season off the right way. I think we did that in all facets of the game."

Dak Prescott threw a career-high five touchdown passes and broke a franchise-record single-season record as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 51-26 on Saturday.

Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards, claiming the Cowboys' record for most single-season touchdown passes, going past Tony Romo's mark of 36.

The win improves means the Cowboys finish the regular season with a 12-5 record but will need to wait on Sunday's result to learn their NFC seeding which could be as high as second and as low as fourth.

Dallas head into the playoffs with a 5-1 run across their past six games after a two-game mid-season losing streak and go 6-0 in the NFC East.

Cedric Wilson (119 yards for five receptions) and Dalton Schultz both scored two TDs, while Corey Clement, Ito Smith and JaQuan Hardy also got on the scoresheet.

Upon Hardy's 22-yard rushing touchdown, the Cowboys broke the record for most players (22) to score a TD in a single season.

The Eagles, who rested numerous key players, are playoffs bound despite a 9-8 record. Eagles QB Gardner Minshew, who stepped in for Jalen Hurts due to an ankle injury, threw 19 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two TDs with one interception.

The Dallas Cowboys are fearing the worst with wide receiver Michael Gallup sustaining a suspected torn ACL in his left knee in Sunday's 25-22 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Gallup landed awkwardly when he caught a touchdown in the second quarter of the defeat, before limping off the field and leaving for the locker room on crutches.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones confirmed Gallup will undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm the severity of the injury but teammate Dak Prescott and head coach Mike McCarthy feared the worst.

"It was tough, very tough," Prescott said at the post-game news conference. "Coming in at half-time and going to see him, just unfortunate. A guy that I love. Can't get a better teammate than MG. Sick about it."

McCarthy added: "Feel terrible for Michael. Obviously made a huge play, but you could see just the way he came down."

Gallup has had 35 receptions for 445 yards and two touchdowns this season for the playoff-bound Cowboys.

The Arizona Cardinals continued their excellent road form as they edged the Dallas Cowboys 25-22 in a potential-playoff preview with Kyler Murray leading the way on Sunday.

The Cardinals improved their season record to 11-5 and their road record to 8-1, snapping a three-game skid, with Texas-born Murray throwing two touchdowns as he completed 26 of 38 attempts for 263 yards.

The Cowboys had trailed 22-7 at the final charge but stormed back into contention as Dak Prescott threw three TD passes for the game but Murray expertly managed the clock late.

Murray found Antoine Wesley for two TDs including a spectacular catch in the third quarter, while Jonathan Ward made a remarkable helmet catch on a fake punt.

The Cowboys lost Michael Gallup to injury upon his second-quarter receiving touchdown and did not return, not helping their cause.

Prescott, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 226 yards along with 20 rushing yards, found Cedrick Wilson and Amari Cooper for final-quarter TDs to tighten the game but he also had a costly fumble at 22-14.

Chargers snap skid as Williams scores 101-yard return

The Los Angeles Chargers snapped a two-game skid with a 34-13 victory over the Denver Broncos to boost their Wild Card hopes as they improve to a 9-7 record.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert threw 22 of 31 passes for 237 yards with two touchdowns, breaking the franchise record for single-season touchdown passes at 35.

Andre Williams scored a 101-yard kickoff return touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Austin Ekeler returned to LA's line-up and was important, with 17 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 54 yards.

 

Lance leads 49ers to key win in Wild Card race

Trey Lance stepped in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo and provided two touchdown passes as the San Francisco 49ers won 23-7 over the Houston Texans.

Lance completed 16 of 23 passes for 249 yards with the two TDs and an interception to help the 49ers improve to 9-7 in the NFC Wild Card pursuit.

Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell scored the touchdowns as the 49ers scored 20 second-half points to secure the win.

Dak Prescott revealed the Dallas Cowboys were unaware they had already clinched the NFC title before a 56-14 rout of the Washington Football Team on Sunday.

Prescott starred by completing 28 of 39 attempted passes for 330 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions as Dallas registered 50 points for the first time since Super Bowl XXVII in the 1992 season.

The Dallas QB recorded his fourth career game with 300 yards, four passing touchdowns and no interceptions, which is the most by any player in franchise history, going past Tony Romo (three). 

Dallas' 56-point haul was the third most in a game by franchise records and the most in a regular-season fixture since 1980 as Mike McCarthy's side scored more than 40 points for the fourth time this season.

The Las Vegas Raiders' victory over the Denver Broncos had already secured Prescott's third divisional title in six seasons as the Cowboys' starting quarterback, but the 28-year-old claimed he was unaware of the triumph before the game.

"I don't know if many people knew that we clinched before the game," Prescott said. "I didn't. That's kind of what my message was talking to the guys in the circle up right there [before the game], going out winning this division. 

"I don't know if we're in the world or business of trying to send messages more than we're just trying to get better, day in and day out, game after game and make sure that we're playing our best ball and peaking at the right time heading into this tournament."

Asked whether Dallas had arrested a slump after concerns over their offensive abilities on Prescott's return from a calf strain, he responded: "You tell me. I never said we were in a slump. Those were your words. 

"So I think it would be hard for you to say that now, but, yeah, tonight was a great performance."

Dallas scored on offense, defense and special teams for the first time since 2012 as they became the first NFL outfit to do so this season, much to the delight of defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence who hailed an almost perfect showing.

"I feel like we showed ourselves that we can play a complete game but we still have a lot that we can build on," Lawrence said.

"Being able to go out there and dominate on all three phases of the game, shoot, we just got to keep building on that and get better from it."

The Cowboys extended to a four-game winning streak, though McCarthy's team need to win their final two games and require the Green Bay Packers to lose at least once to confirm home advantage for the playoffs.

The NFC East champions next face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday before closing the regular season at the Philadelphia Eagles on January 9.

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys blew away the Washington Football Team with six first-half touchdowns as they recorded a comprehensive 56-14 win on Sunday.

Prescott completed 28 of 39 passes for 330 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, as the Cowboys reached 50 points for the first time since Super Bowl XXVII in 1993.

The Dallas QB recorded his fourth career game with 300 yards, four passing touchdowns and no interceptions, which is the most by any player in franchise history, going past Tony Romo (three). Prescott remarkably passed for 320 yards by half-time.

The Cowboys also became the first team this season to score in all three facets of the game as they dismantled Washington.

Ezekiel Elliott scored two touchdowns in the first half as the Cowboys opened up a 42-7 half-time lead. Elliott had nine carries for 37 yards and one rushing TD, along with one receiving touchdown.

Dallas had good contributions from receivers Amari Cooper (seven receptions for 85 yards and one TD), Dalton Schultz (eight receptions for 82 yards and one TD) and Malik Turner (three receptions for 82 yards and one TD).

Demarcus Lawrence also scored a TD after intercepting Washington QB's Taylor Heinicke's first-quarter pass with Chauncey Golston cleaning up in the end zone for a touchdown after Corey Clement blocked a punt.

The Cowboys, who have clinched the NFC East division earlier in the day after the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 17-13, improve to 11-4 while Washington are 6-9.

 

Burrow blows against Lamar-less Ravens

Joe Burrow was in record-breaking form with the fourth most passing yards in a game in NFL history to lead the Cincinnati Bengals won 41-21 over the Baltimore Ravens, who were without Lamar Jackson.

Burrow completed 37 of 46 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, which was a new franchise record for passing yards as the Bengals claimed a major AFC North win to improve to 9-6 ahead of the 8-7 Ravens on a four-game skid.

The Bengals quarterback also becomes the fourth player in NFL history to have 500 pass yards, four pass touchdowns and zero interceptions in a game, joining Derek Carr, Ben Roethlisberger and Y.A. Tittle.

Wide receivers Tee Higgins (12 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns) and Ja'Marr Chase (seven receptions for 125 yards) were excellent against the Ravens whose stand-in QB Josh Johnson had two TD passes.

 

Chiefs clinch AFC West yet again

The Kansas City Chiefs became the first team to ever clinch the AFC West title for six straight seasons after a 36-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw 23 of 30 passes for 258 yards with three TD passes, while Steelers veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger struggled with 23 of 35 passes for 159 yards with one TD and one interception.

Wide receiver Byron Pringle had six receptions for 75 yards with two touchdowns as the Chiefs improved to an unassailable 11-4 record in the AFC West, ahead of the Los Angeles Chargers (8-4) who lost 41-29 to the Houston Texans earlier on Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers defense showed up in bravura fashion to pave the way for a 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.

Despite the offense struggling, Pittsburgh forced four turnovers against a Titans side who continue to lead the AFC South but slip to 9-5 with this setback.

Linebacker T.J. Watt had 1.5 sacks to reach 17.5 for the season, establishing a new Steelers record as the home team improved to 7-6-1, getting the better of a side that blanked the Jaguars 20-0 last week.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin hailed the effort from his team to overcome their shortcomings and capitalise on their strengths, with Chris Boswell kicking four field goals and Ben Roethlisberger snatching a rare touchdown.

Roethlisberger (16-of-25 for 148 yards) also went fifth on the all-time NFL passing yards list in this game, jumping ahead of Philip Rivers with a three-yard pass to Najee Harris and boosting his career total to 63,562 yards by the end.

Tomlin said: "It's an exciting victory for us, a very necessary one. They won the battle of field position, their special teams were better than ours, but in spite of all those things I thought the guys continued to fight.

"The turnovers levelled the playing field in the second half. That was the catalyst for us to go ahead and secure victory. I like the way the guys collectively smiled in the face of adversity.

"We'll be thankful for this win. That's a really good football team we played and were able to beat today. Hopefully there's some growth associated with conquering challenges like that, and we are going to need that as we go on the road next week."

The Steelers tackle the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs on December 26, while the Titans are back in action against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Lions chew up Cardinals

Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes and kept the Arizona Cardinals waiting to nail down a playoff place as the Detroit Lions sprang a huge shock with their 30-12 win.

With just one win, Detroit headed into the game against the Cardinals, who were 10-3 for the season, as heavy underdogs, despite Arizona losing last week to the Los Angeles Rams.

Goff found Amon-Ra St Brown and Josh Reynolds for touchdowns in the first half as the Lions surge to a 17-0 lead at halfway – at that point their biggest advantage at any stage of any game all season and the Cardinals' biggest half-time deficit for three years.

The lead was even wider come the end of the game, with Goff finding Jason Cabinda for another touchdown, meaning Arizona's once-firm grip on first place in the NFC West is now far from that, as the Rams (9-4) lurk.

The NFL said the result marked only the third time since 1970 that a team with the worst record in the NFL had beaten a team with the best or joint-best record, taking into account only games when the sides had already played at least eight times in the season.

It was also the third-largest win all-time by a team with nine-plus fewer wins than an opponent, per Stats Perform.

Cowboys almost there

The Dallas Cowboys moved to the brink of a first playoff appearance since 2018 thanks to a 21-6 win over the New York Giants, improving to 10-4 as they continue to lead the NFC East.

Behind the arm of Dak Prescott (28-of-37 for 217 yards and one touchdown), the Cowboys had just enough to avoid any undue worries, with the scoring all wrapped up by the end of the third quarter.

While Prescott was far from perfect, he was streets ahead of Giants starting QB Mike Glennon (13-of-24 for 99 yards) who was picked off three times by the Cowboys. Trevon Diggs had the third of those interceptions to reach 10 for the season. Glennon was eventually benched to allow Jake Fromm (6-of-12 for 82 yards) a chance to impress.

Prescott lost both of his starts against the Giants as a rookie in 2016 but has now gone 9-0 in subsequent starts against New York.

Dallas Cowboys star Dak Prescott said he is healthy but admitted "I'm not playing my best ball" amid criticism regarding his form.

Prescott has thrown 24 touchdowns this season, though the Dallas quarterback has tallied 10 interceptions in 12 appearances – the most since 2019.

Since returning from a calf strain, Prescott has eight touchdown passes and six interceptions in six games.

Prescott addressed the criticism ahead of Sunday's NFL clash with the New York Giants, telling reporters: "I'm fully healthy, 100 per cent healthy. Thank you, though."

Prescott added: "I do realise I'm not playing my best ball, haven't been playing it, have made some poor decisions, you could say.

"That's kind of part of it. I wouldn't say it's slump material, but I'm definitely not up to my standards or expectations, and when you play at a high level, that's what you create. So I'm glad people have the same expectations for my game as I do for myself."

Prescott lost both of his starts against the Giants as a rookie in 2016, but he is 8-0 in his starts against them since then.

According to Stats Perform, Prescott is the first QB to win eight or more consecutive starts against the Giants since Ron Jaworksi won nine in a row from 1977 to 1981.

"I've been doubted my whole life, said I can't do this or can't do that, so in a sense I'm kind of glad it's actually come back," Prescott said.

"I'm glad that's the way people feel and there's a lot of that being said right now."

The Cowboys' 44-20 home win over the Giants in Week 5 was their largest margin of victory against the New York franchise since 1998, when they won 31-7 at Giants Stadium in Week 3.

Dallas had 515 net yards in that Week 5 win, their second-highest yardage total ever in a game against the Giants.

The Cowboys (9-4) have two players with 600 or more rushing yards this season – Ezekiel Elliott (810) and Tony Pollard (602). The Denver Broncos are the only other NFL team with two such players this season (Javonte Williams 743, Melvin Gordon 716).

"I think it's the right time for us to turn it on," Prescott said. "I had that talk with the skill position players in the signal-caller's meeting is we'd much rather be going through what you're through this time that we did than two weeks from now.

"Now that we've addressed it, we've held ourselves accountable for it, we can move forward and peak at the right time heading into the playoffs."

Stand-in head coach Dan Quinn was delighted with the effort of the Dallas Cowboys as they ended their run of back-to-back defeats with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The former Atlanta Falcons head coach is now defensive coordinator at the Cowboys, but was asked to fill in for head coach Mike McCarthy after he was forced to stay at home due to COVID-19.

The victory at the Caesers Superdome follows a Week 11 defeat at the Kansas City Chiefs and an overtime loss against the Las Vegas Raiders last time out. 

The Cowboys now move to 8-4, comfortably ahead of the Washington Football Team (5-6) at the top of the NFC East.

"Make no mistake, we were not pleased with our last performance [against the Raiders]," Quinn told reporters after the game. "So we needed to make sure we came back and played like we were capable of and it was cool to see the guys fight and battle for it.

"We knew going in tonight was going to be a fight, and this was going to be a battle, and it certainly was.

"We were coming in ready to make sure we were ready to get it on with physicality and aggression, if it took all night or longer into overtime, we were ready to go however long it took."

Quinn praised the leadership within the team, making particular mention of quarterback Dak Prescott, who completed 26 of 40 attempts for 237 yards, including a touchdown pass to Malcolm Gallup in the opening quarter.

"We've got some excellent leaders. If you guys could hear the way Dak talks before the game to the team, it's one of the most impressive things that I've been a part of. The commitment, the leadership, these guys battling for one another, you can tell they've got a unique brotherhood that ties them together."

McCarthy watched from home, but told ESPN via phone following the win: "It was rough, I'm not going to lie. I'm proud of the guys and how it all turned out, but I don't ever want to do this again.

"Adversity win, ugly win, however, you want to define it, you have to have these wins, especially when you get to later in the year when you're playing teams that are trying to get in the playoffs or make a run.

"This is a great experience for us. Let's face it, this is today's NFL. You've got to be able to win with change."

The Dallas Cowboys ended their run of back-to-back defeats, returning to winning ways with a 27-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints in the NFL.

Dallas were never headed on Thursday after Dak Prescott – who completed 26 of 40 attempts for 237 yards – found Malcolm Gallup for an opening-quarter touchdown, managing four interceptions in a game for the first time in almost 11 years.

The Cowboys, who improved to 8-4 for the season, now have 16 interceptions this campaign – the equal-second most in the NFL in 2021 alongside the Buffalo Bills – after Saints quarterback Taysom Hill ended the contest with four interceptions on 19-of-41 passing for 264 yards and two TDs.

Dallas claimed the lead in the first period after CeeDee Lamb's run, star quarterback Prescott finding Gallup with a great grab in the corner.

New Orleans responded in the second period when Hill, who was troubled by an early hand niggle, found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 24-yard touchdown.

Dallas took a six-point lead into half-time courtesy of back-to-back Greg Zuerlein field goals and a tremendous Jayron Kearse interception.

Kicker Brett Maher closed the gap in the third quarter, before Tony Pollard's sensational 58-yard run down the sideline for a touchdown with Marcus Williams unable to close him down.

Hill's tough night was capped in the fourth period when he threw a pick-six to Cowboys defensive tackle Carlos Watkins.

Deonte Harris broke two tackles to score a spectacular late 70-yard consolation TD, but the Saints (5-7) fell to a fifth consecutive defeat – the franchise's longest single-season losing run since 2005.

The Las Vegas Raiders broke a three-game losing streak with a thrilling 36-33 overtime win at the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Daniel Carson converted a 29-yard field goal to lift the Raiders (6-5) past the Cowboys (7-4) in Dallas in the first overtime game to occur on Thanksgiving since 2012.

There was an early advantage for Las Vegas on Thursday as Derek Carr (24-of-39 passing for 373 yards and a TD – most yards by a Raiders quarterback on Thanksgiving in team history) threw to DeSean Jackson, who ran in for a 56-yard touchdown. It was Jackson's 34th career touchdown of 50-plus yards, the second-most in NFL history, just two behind Jerry Rice.

The Cowboys – without stars CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and Amari Cooper (COVID-19) – responded immediately with a touchdown of their own as Dak Prescott (32-of-47 passing for 375 yards for two TDs) found Sean McKeon.

A 30-yard penalty for pass interference gave Josh Jacobs a simple one-yard TD to make it 14-6 in favour of Las Vegas heading into the second quarter.

Dallas looked to be getting desperate as Zuerlein attempted and missed a 59-yard field goal, but they were able to score their second TD just before half-time as an 86-yard drive ended with a one-yard TD for Ezekiel Elliott to close within 17-13 at the break.

The Raiders increased their lead halfway through the third quarter – Marcus Mariota running in a touchdown to complete a 75-yard drive, only for Tony Pollard to immediately run a 100-yard kick-off return to bring it back to 27-19, the third-longest TD in Thanksgiving history.

Dallas forced overtime thanks to Prescott's pass to Dalton Schultz and a pair of Zuerlein field goals in the fourth period, but the Cowboys were unable to complete the comeback in the additional period.

The Dallas Cowboys offense stumbled badly against the Kansas City Chiefs without Amari Cooper, but Dak Prescott defended the wide receiver despite his coronavirus-enforced absence.

Dallas dropped to 7-3 on the season with a 19-9 loss at Arrowhead Stadium, failing to find the endzone for the first time since November 2020.

The Cowboys were missing left tackle Tyron Smith because of an ankle injury and felt the impact of that absence as Prescott was sacked five times.

Cooper, meanwhile, missed out after testing positive for coronavirus, that problem exacerbated by fellow wideout CeeDee Lamb leaving the game with a concussion.

He is unvaccinated, meaning Cooper must miss 10 days and will also not be available for the Cowboys' Thanksgiving clash with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.

Despite facing the prospect of heading into the Raiders game without both Cooper and Lamb, Prescott refused to blame the former for his vaccination status.

"I mean, it's unfortunate not having him," Prescott said, in quotes distributed by the team. "To say the decision he made — I mean I'm vaccinated and I could get it and be out two games.

"Let's try not to knock the guy or put the guy down for a personal decision.

"I don't think there's anybody that comes back under 10 days. You give me that stat on guys that are either vaccinated or unvaccinated coming back faster than that time and tested out, then ok, we'll go from there.

"That's my team-mate; that's my brother. We're going to support him. That's his decision, as I said way back in training camp when you guys asked me this question.

"Unfortunately we don't have him, but I know he'll come back and be beneficial for us late in the season."

"It's just an opportunity for other guys to step up and make plays," Prescott added of Cooper's absence.

"We've had different guys including myself go out week after week and other guys have had to step in and make those plays.

"It's challenging when you're missing a guy like Amari who is such a playmaker and dynamic but we've got to be able to win without him."

The Dallas Cowboys managed to hold down the fort while Dak Prescott was sidelined with a calf strain, but everything fell apart as their quarterback returned to the line-up in Sunday's 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Prescott completed fewer than half of his pass attempts and could not lead Dallas to any points until the game was well out of reach in an emphatic home defeat against the Broncos that ended their six-game winning streak in the NFL.

Dallas turned the ball over on downs on their first two possessions and four times overall in the game, failing on all four of their fourth-down conversion attempts as they compiled a season-low 290 yards after averaging 454.9 entering the game.

"Frankly we were outcoached, we were outplayed all the way through," Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "This is the first time I've felt clearly our energy didn't exceed our opponent. That's disappointing."

The Cowboys had not trailed by double digits all season but found themselves down 30-0 by the time Prescott threw the first of two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter.

Prescott entered the game leading the NFL with a 73.1 completion percentage but connected on just 19 of 39 attempts (48.7 per cent), matching the second-worst showing of his six-year NFL career. 

The Cowboys QB insisted he felt "fine" and there were no residual effects from the leg he injured on the game-winning touchdown pass three weeks earlier against the New England Patriots, but acknowledged he did not perform to his standards.

"I mean obviously I wasn't as clean as I normally am or as I have been. It's tough to say and blame that [injury]," Prescott said. "I'm not going to sit there and blame two weeks [off] when I had a great week of practice under my belt coming into this one.

"I just missed some throws and we weren't our normal selves in the passing game when we needed to be. We didn't execute…

"We got beat. We got thumped in every aspect of the game, especially on offence."

McCarthy could have been forgiven for pulling Prescott with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, especially coming off an injury, but the quarterback said he never considered remaining on the sidelines no matter the margin. 

"There was game left out there to be played," Prescott said. "It never crossed my mind that I was coming out of the game. I think if somebody would have tried to make that decision, I would have told them I wasn't.

"We needed to get something going. We needed to get some energy, some momentum. We needed to show our fight, our resiliency, something that's won us a lot of games. When you're getting beat like that, you've got to show your character.

"I think that's where the path starts with all of us staying in the game and fighting to the end and trying to get some momentum or something going just to take from this game."

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