On October 11, the Cowboys faced the New York Giants. By the third quarter, Cowboys were leading 24 to 23. Dallas set up a designed quarterback draw and Prescott broke through trying to salvage a few yards. Logan Ryan, Giants defensive back, approached and Prescott ran out of time to slide to safety. As he was tackled, Prescott’s ankle twisted beneath Ryan. Prescott came out of the tackle with his foot turned around. The curse of the 2020 Cowboys season was set in place.
A silent stadium watched as Prescott was placed on a cart, tears streaming down his face. Players crowded around the cart in support of their leader. Finally, Prescott was carted away, the last thing fans saw was him raising his fist up as if to say, everything is going to be ok.
That night the cowboys announced that Prescott had suffered a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation, and he would be going into surgery that evening to wash out the wound. They also announced that he would most likely be out for the rest of the season. The Cowboys head coach, Mike McCarthy sent his condolences, “I just feel terrible for him. He was having a tremendous year”.
But McCarthy looked toward the future, “You recalibrate. I think anytime you have a change, there’s always a process of things you may do more of, you may not do as much.”
The recalibration was placing Andy Dalton in Prescott’s spot. Dalton was expected to fill in for Prescott for the rest of the season. He had an average pass completion percentage of 62% and completed 205 passing touchdowns during the span of his entire career. He wasn’t Dak, but he provided an alternate strategy.
Dalton took the field on October 25th, starting his second game in place of Prescott. In the third quarter, the Cowboys were down 22-3. Dalton made a run and began to slide when Jon Bostic, Washington linebacker, leveled his shoulder directly into Dalton’s head. Dalton was immediately down, and Bostic was ejected. It was soon announced Dalton would not be returning to the game.
Rookie quarterback Ben DeNucci filled in and the Cowboys suffered a 25-3 loss. It was announced after the game that Dalton had suffered a concussion would not be expected to be ready to play by next Sunday.
When asked about his reaction to the injury, Ezekiel Elliot, the cowboys running back said, “Just how shitty this year has been. Yeah, just how bad this year has been. But we’ve still got time left. We’ve got a big division game next week. So, I mean, we’ve got to go out there and find a way to win”.
And most fans look at Elliot to do just that, produce a win. But offensive line seems to be falling apart, and Elliot has not been consistent on the field either. Elliot has never been this far into the season without a 100-yard rushing game. But this year, 7 games in, Elliot has only 458 rushing yards in total; for him, this is a drastic underperformance.
Despite the unfortunate injuries and upsetting game performance, the Cowboys still have a chance to comeback. Their next game is against the Philadelphia Eagles, and a win in the next game will push them to first place in their conference.
When the cowboys lost Prescott, they lost more than a player who passed 450 yards in the three games he played pre-injury. They lost a leader. They lost the leader who told them that they could win. And now, there is more than a lack of yardage or overwhelming passing stats. Though, most importantly, there is a lack of belief in America’s team.