Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott seemingly did everything right late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota. He managed the situation and the clock like a veteran.
He only made one mistake. He slid too early. So instead of ending the game, he allowed the Vikings one final chance at a rally before the Cowboys escaped with a 17-15 victory.
Call it a learning experience.
“I thought I had the first down when I slid,” Prescott said. “I guess I was giving myself up before the first down. I want to get the first down. I also don’t want to take the hit and to keep the clock running. You are in a tough position. I thought I made the right play. ... Yeah, a learning a experience.”
It was second-and-nine at the Cowboys 23 with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left and Cowboys up 17-9.
The Cowboys called a screen pass, but the Vikings blew it up. So the mobile Prescott rolled left and got around the end. He slid in-bounds at the 33, seemingly getting the first down and keeping the clock running at the same time.
It was ruled a first down on the field. But the Vikings challenged the play and it was reversed, as Prescott was ruled down where he began his slide and not where he landed.
Then on third-and-one, he fumbled the center exchange from Travis Frederick, resulting in running back Ezekiel Elliott being dropped for a loss, forcing a Cowboys punt.
The Vikings would score on the ensuing drive, but the Cowboys survived when the two-point try failed.
But rather than blame Prescott for the early slide, coach Jason Garrett applauded him for making an amazing play.
“I thought he made an amazing play,” Garrett said. “Let’s start with that. I thought it was an amazing football play to do what he did. The awareness. He knew the situation. He didn’t want to throw the ball away to stop the clock. He captures the edge. Somehow he has the wherewithal to try to stay in bounds in this situation. Those plays happen fast.
“He did a really good job handling that whole play. He has done a good job all year long sliding at the sticks.
“Somehow, some way tonight they felt like he was short of the sticks on that particular play. I thought he made an amazing play. Unfortunately, he slid a tick too short.”