Glendale, Ariz. — Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes and flipped head over heels into the end zone on a 10-yard run for another and the Dallas Cowboys pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 on Monday night.
The Cowboys (2-1), bouncing back from a 42-17 pummeling in Denver, began the game kneeling at midfield with owner Jerry Jones in a show of unity that followed widespread protests across the NFL of critical comments by President Donald Trump over the weekend.
After they kneeled, they stood and walked to the sideline for the anthem.
Prescott, 13 of 18 for 183 yards, broke a 14-14 tie with a 37-yard scoring pass to Brice Butler with 11:52 to play.
Arizona, with a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald for 24 yards on a third-and-18 play, moved downfield but the drive stalled. Phil Dawson’s 37-yard field goal cut the lead to 21-17 with 6:35 left.
Ezekiel Elliott, who gained 8 yards in nine carries against Denver and drew criticism for not hustling after a couple of late interceptions, was bottled up much of the game, but still gained 80 yards on 22 attempts, 30 on one play. He ran 8 yards for the final Cowboys touchdown.
The Cardinals (1-2), in their home opener, got a big game from Fitzgerald, who caught 13 passes for 149 yards, in the process moving ahead of Marvin Harrison into eighth in career receiving yards.
Carson Palmer had a big first half, completed 15 of 18 for 145 yards and finished 29 of 48 for 325 yards and two scores. He was sacked six times, a career-high three by DeMarcus Lawrence.
The Cardinals dominated the first half statistically, but were deadlocked with the Cowboys at 7-7. Arizona had a 152-57 advantage in yards and dominated time of possession 19:34 to 9:41.
Arizona took the opening kickoff and went 82 yards in eight plays. Palmer was 5-for-5 on the drive, capped by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown.
Before Dallas even had a first down, Arizona mounted a nearly nine-minute drive but a touchdown pass to Brown was negated by a holding penalty and Phil Dawson’s 36-yard field goal try was wide right. It was the third mid-range miss for the 41-year-old kicker this season.
And the miss left the door open for the Cowboys to get back in it.
Prescott scored on a 10-yard run, flipping head-first over the goal line to tie it at 7-7 with 3:33 left in the half.
Ravens’ Harbaugh glad subject in open
A day after President Donald Trump’s controversial denunciation of NFL players who do not stand for the national anthem sparked league-wide protests, including during the Ravens’ game Sunday against the Jaguars in London, coach John Harbaugh spoke at length about the issue Monday.
Below is a partial transcript from his weekly news conference.
“We talked about it last night a little bit. Our owner, Steve Bisciotti, addressed it. The players talked about it. It’s an emotional issue all around. It’s not a new issue. It’s been around for a long time in terms of our nation.
“All the teams are facing this. It’s a conversation that’s taking place in locker rooms and living rooms and in boardrooms and in cafeterias and around the coffee machines.
“The truth of the matter is, or the way I look at it, I think that’s a really good thing. I think that’s a good thing it’s getting talked about. I think it’s something that’s a positive. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be painful. It’s a tough conversation, but as for us here, as a football coach, my perspective of our team, I love our players and I support our players. A team is about unity. A team is about one accord. A team is a brotherhood.
“My daughter’s lacrosse and basketball and tennis teams, whether you’re in a club in a high school, there’s something about being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself that demands that you lock arms and you stand together, whether it be in front of the flag or be for someone when they’re having a tough time. That’s what brotherhood, sisterhood, being a part of team is all about.
“And our team is united. We stand together as brothers. And I’m proud of that. It meant a lot, means a lot.
“The other thing, I think, to talk about a little is the fact that these things aren’t going to be easy. They’re not going to be something that’s going to be resolved in a day. They’re not going to be resolved in a week, but we are going to play the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.
More protest news
A day after more than a dozen players for the Jaguars took a knee during the Star Spangled Banner at a London game the mayor of the team’s city said it’s stupid not to stand for the national anthem but protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a vocal conservative and Jaguars fan, released a statement Monday.
“I stand and cover my heart for the pledge and the anthem. I think it’s stupid to do otherwise,” Curry said. “The U.S. Constitution protects the right for a lot of people to do a lot of stupid things. I am a Constitutional Conservative, so I respect the wisdom of our Founders.”
... In Buffalo, defensive end Jerry Hughes is upset with Jim Kelly, accusing the Hall of Fame quarterback of attempting to divide the team by publicly criticizing LeSean McCoy for how he protested during the national anthem on Sunday.
Hughes says Kelly should have approached the team with his concerns and shouldn’t have been standing alongside the Bills on the field during the anthem if he had issues with the protest.
Hughes called Kelly’s actions “not cool,” and “very unacceptable.”
Kelly told Buffalo’s WGRF-Radio on Monday that he lost respect for McCoy for how the running back spent part of the anthem sitting on the field and stretching before the Bills home game against Denver.
Kelly also posted a note on his Instagram account saying the only time he will ever kneel is to pray.
... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time Super Bowl champion, said Monday — after a sleepless night — that he regretted that most of his team remained in the tunnel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” instead of appearing on the sideline before a 23-17 loss at Chicago on Sunday.
“Moving forward, we will be on the field,” Roethlisberger said. “What we do when we’re out there is yet to be determined.”
Eagles running back Darren Sproles tore his ACL and broke his forearm on the same play in Sunday’s win over the Giants. He’ll miss the rest of the season.
“It’s a devastating loss,” coach Doug Pederson said.
The versatile Sproles has nine returns for touchdowns, including seven on punts. Sproles, 34, went to three Pro Bowls, including last season when he had a career-high 94 carries.
... Panthers coach Ron Rivera expressed relief after an MRI revealed wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has no structural damage to his left knee.
Benjamin’s status will be day-to-day. Rivera says it’s too early to know if he will play Sunday at New England.
Benjamin’s left knee got bent backward after being dragged down from behind on the final play of the first quarter of Carolina’s 34-13 loss to New Orleans on Sunday. He did not return to the game.
Rivera says doctors told him the MRI “came back pretty good, and they’re going to see how his treatment goes.”
... Colts coach Chuck Pagano says there’s a chance Andrew Luck could return to practice Wednesday.
Pagano already has ruled Luck out of Sunday night’s game at Seattle.
Luck had surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
... Bears safety Quintin Demps suffered a broken arm in the 23-17 victory over the Steelers and will be out an indefinite period of time.
Demps came out in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win and was replaced by former starter Adrian Amos. A 10-year veteran, Demps was acquired from Houston.
Bears coach John Fox did not characterize Demps’ injury as a season-ending one. The Bears play at Green Bay on Thursday night.
... The 49ers placed defensive lineman Tank Carradine on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Carradine got hurt Thursday night against the Rams.
... Rams defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks was arrested Friday night when a gun was found in his vehicle after a traffic stop near Bakersfield.
Westbrooks was placed in Kern County Jail on suspicion of receiving stolen property.