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Sunday Night wrap-up: Dak Prescott bounces back from opener

As stat lines go, it wasn’t much to look at.
He finished the night 16-of-25 passing for 160 yards and a touchdown, the eighth time in his last 10 games he’s been held under 200 yards passing.
The Giants used the second overall pick in the draft on running back Saquon Barkley.
Then they gave veteran running back Jonathan Stewart a deal with $3.5 million guaranteed to be his backup.
Then on fourth-and-1 from their own 48-yard in the first quarter, the Giants punted.
Perhaps coach Pat Shurmur thought it was too early to go for it, on the road and already trailing a score and afraid to give the Cowboys such field position after they had scored a quick-strike touchdown.
It was a very by-the-book call, which is the kind football coaches most often make.
They gained 79 yards in the first half and allowed four sacks before the break, and it’s not as if they were physically whipped.
In fact, the touchdown was his first receiving touchdown since Nov. 27, 2016, and his first score of any kind since Oct. 8, 2017.
The Cowboys have their own offensive line issues.

AP

As stat lines go, it wasn’t much to look at.

But the Cowboys got to double digits on the scoreboard and they didn’t lose, so it’s reasonable to declare progress for Dak Prescott.

Prescott was solid-if-not-spectacular in their 20-13 win over the Giants, the kind of efficient performance from their quarterback which has to be the baseline if they’re going to be anything other than average.

He finished the night 16-of-25 passing for 160 yards and a touchdown, the eighth time in his last 10 games he’s been held under 200 yards passing. Also, 40 percent of his yards came on one early touchdown pass, making the rest seem a little anticlimactic.

He also added 45 yards on seven carries. It wasn’t quite the performance owner Jerry Jones might have envisioned when he compared him to Jared Goff and Cam Newton last week, but it was certainly better.

It was also — as has been his custom — in conjunction with a solid game from running back Ezekiel Elliott (17 carries for 78 yards).

While calling him a complementary player seems like a slight (and maybe it is), Prescott has shown that he needs multiple things going in his favor, usually a strong line and run game to support him.

Sunday, it was a defense that hounded Eli Manning throughout (six sacks), lowering the bar for what Prescott had to do. Only a few plays were necessary, and he mostly made them.

After leading an eight-point outburst in the opener, when there were plenty of doubts about the kind of offense the Cowboys might be (and those still exist, if to a lesser degree), it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. The Giants used the second overall pick in the draft on running back Saquon Barkley. Then they gave veteran running back Jonathan Stewart a deal with $3.5 million guaranteed to be his backup. Then they spent a pile more on a free agent left tackle (Nate Solder) a second-round pick on a left guard (Will Hernandez) and a smaller pile of money on another guard (Patrick Omameh).

Then on fourth-and-1 from their own 48-yard in the first quarter, the Giants punted.

If you’re going to spend assets on being a physical running team, avoiding the chance to physically run seems odd.

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