It had been 351 days since Dak Prescott last played a game at AT&T Stadium.
He was carted off the field that day and his season was over.
Prescott returned for his first game on the Cowboys’ homefield since he sustained a horrible ankle break and looked poised, comfortable and excellent in leading Dallas to a 41-21 win over the Eagles on Monday Night Football.
During the national anthem, Prescott got emotional about the return, a tear running from his eye, and said the same happened in warmups, but that dissipated upon kickoff.
“I think there was a couple of times, but definitely again during the national anthem,” Prescott told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game. “Just gratitude. Definitely just thankful for everything that I’ve been through. All the hard work that it took … just to be back out here doing what I love. It’s the greatest place to play football.
“I think the last moment was the national anthem and then it was go time.”
It was against another NFC East foe, the Giants, in which Prescott was injured in Week 5 of the 2020 season. When Prescott left the game on that day, much of the Cowboys’ hopes left with him.
On this night, Prescott and the Cowboys won their second game in a row and offered up an abundance of optimism that this could well be the season in which Dallas cashes in on its talent-laden roster and returns to the playoffs after missing out the past two seasons.
Prescott was borderline brilliant on the evening, throwing for three touchdowns and 238 yards on 21-of-26 passing with a 143.3 rating and his first no-interception game of the season.
“This offense is just playing together,” Prescott said. “We’ve got a great pace of play that we’re playing with. We’ve got a great brotherhood. Everybody’s holding each other accountable. It’s fun to be a part of. We’ve got so many playmakers that don’t have egos and they make my job easy. Offensive line protects and guys go make plays.”
Amid a crazy start Monday night that featured a Prescott fumble in the end zone turning into six Eagles points a drive after Jalen Hurts threw a pick, Prescott remained calm and cool despite the early storm.
Prescott’s first scoring pass, a 19-yard shot to tight end Dalton Schultz, put the Cowboys ahead for good at 13-7 with 1:31 to go in the first quarter.
Prescott’s second touchdown pass was a beautiful 2-yard laser to Ced Wilson in the fourth quarter that expunged any thoughts of a miraculous Eagles comeback. Prescott rolled right, bided his time and found a wide-open Wilson at the back of the end zone for an easy six.
A third TD, once again to Schultz, was the capper of a sterling night for Prescott.
“I’m very happy for Dak,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. “He’s just a great leader for our football team.
“He’s off to an excellent start.”
Monday was the first of three consecutive home games for the Cowboys, and Prescott clearly feels comfortable there once again.
“It’s something we’ve got to build off of,” Prescott said of Monday’s win. “I mean, obviously, I feel great. I’ve got a great supporting cast and a great defense that’s making plays and getting me the ball back, so we just gotta continue to build and tonight was a good one that we can build off of and get a couple in a row here at home.”
Prescott’s certainly had bigger nights statistically and played in more important games than a Week 3 Monday nighter, but this was an important one on his comeback trail.
He returned to the scene of so many triumphs, but also returned to the scene of the crime that robbed him of last season. And he emerged in impressive and victorious fashion.
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