The Cowboys surely looked at their schedule after Dak Prescott‘s hand injury in the season opener and wondered how many games they would win without him. One down, who knows how many to go.
Prescott cheered on his backup, Cooper Rush, from the sideline as Rush led the Cowboys on a game-winning, field-goal drive in the final two minutes. Brett Maher‘s 50-yard field goal on the final play left the Cowboys’ locker room giddy, including owner Jerry Jones.
“I’m telling you, this performance out here today by Rush sure takes a lot of the angst out of that,” Jones said.
Rush passed for 235 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 20-17 win. He made no mistakes, though the Bengals had some chances for some interceptions.
Rush will start until Prescott returns.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said pregame that Prescott could return in Week 4 or Week 5. Jerry Jones said afterward that he doesn’t know when Prescott will return, but he’s hopeful it will be sooner than later.
“I’ve got out on the limb for the man upstairs, OK? And you know I’m trying to be trite. But he really is the only one [who knows when Prescott will return],” Jerry Jones said. “When he has strength, which I have no idea when that will be, but it will be not an issue of being concerned about re-injuring the thumb. It will be an issue of his ability to grip the ball, and you know Dak. He’s beat every timeline I’ve ever seen or looked at, so he’s got a good chance to do it. But there’s no question that we didn’t put him on IR. I want to be real clear about that: We did not put him on [IR], so he could be working during these weeks. He could be out there throwing but certainly involved in everything else. He couldn’t have done that had we put him there [on IR]. I certainly would look to hope that he just might be available [soon].”
Prescott has an extra-articular fracture, meaning the break was contained to the bone but not deepening into the joint. So, as soon as Prescott can grip the ball, he can return to action, Jerry Jones said.
With Rush winning games, the Cowboys have no reason to rush Prescott back.
It was Rush’s second start, and his second win. He beat the Vikings last year with Prescott nursing a calf injury, passing for 325 yards.
“He exceeded my expectations. He did,” Jones said of Rush. “No reason why he couldn’t, but he did exceed my expectations. I thought his passing was outstanding.”