Cowboys' Dak Prescott rises to occasion in face of Giants 'challenge'

ByTodd Archer ESPN logo
Monday, September 17, 2018

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dak Prescott's "challenge accepted" turned to "mission accomplished" in theDallas Cowboys' 20-13 win against the New York Giants on Sunday night.

On Wednesday, Giants safety Landon Collins said the defensive game plan was to take running back Ezekiel Elliott out of the game and put the pressure on Prescott.

"If we do that, put the ball in Dak's hands, I think we'll have a better shot at winning," Collins said.

The next day, Prescott had a simple response.

"Challenge accepted," he said. "Challenge accepted."

Prescott opened the game with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the Cowboys' third play from scrimmage and finished the game taking a knee as the Cowboys avoided an 0-2 start following a disappointing showing in the season opener against the Carolina Panthers.

"I kind of said, 'Challenge accepted.' But I can tell that I wasn't the only one that accepted it," Prescott said. "This team accepted it. The offense accepted it. We wanted to go out there and show these guys. ... I knew I wasn't the only one that heard that. When I said 'challenge accepted' it wasn't just me accepting that challenge. It was this offense and team. After that win, hearing what some of the guys were saying, I know they heard that message and were happy to come out and be able to do what we do."

Prescott was efficient as a passer, completing 16 of 25 passes for 160 yards, but also ran seven times for a career-high 45 yards. He avoided mistakes, going without an interception and was not sacked, a week after he was sacked six times by theCarolina Panthers.

"We all know the type of player Dak is," Elliott said. "We all know what Dak's capable of. He came out and showed them. I think he took over the game and he controlled it."

Said defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, "Everybody heard what he said, 'challenge accepted,' and I was hyped. I was definitely hyped for him. I was hyped for our offense to do what they did and, hey, man, I loved it."

Prescott has thrown for more than 200 yards just twice in the last 10 games, dating back to last season. He missed Rico Gathers for a touchdown pass in the second half, but he made the plays necessary for the Cowboys to beat the Giants for the third straight time.

"His maturity level since I met him is off the charts," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He handles every situation like a pro. He has great confidence in himself. He has confidence in what we're doing, the people around him and he's as good a worker as we have on our team. His mindset, his mentality is fantastic every day regardless of what the circumstances are. He's incredibly mentally tough."

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