Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott, Jason Witten reach milestones despite loss

Jason Witten has played in more Cowboys games than anyone else in franchise history.
Jason Witten has played in more Cowboys games than anyone else in franchise history. TNS

The Dallas Cowboys set a couple of records in Sunday’s 42-17 loss at Denver.

Tight end Jason Witten became the franchise’s leader in games played with his 225th, breaking a tie with Ed “Too Tall” Jones (224). Dak Prescott, meanwhile, became the first quarterback in NFL history with less than five interceptions through the first 500 pass attempts of his career.

For Witten, it’s another mark among the Cowboys’ greats. He went into Sunday’s game as the team’s career leader in yards (11,947), catches (1,096), starts (214) and consecutive starts (164).

“It’s certainly flown by,” Witten said earlier this week. “I think it’s been a collection of years on this journey. To be able to reach something like that, I’m appreciative of it.”

Witten finished with a game-high 10 catches for 97 yards and one touchdown. The TD was the 65th of his career, tying Michael Irvin for third in club history.

Prescott went into Sunday’s game with four career interceptions. He already had an NFL record for fewest career interceptions in a quarterback’s first 17 games, dating to last season’s sensational rookie campaign.

Prescott opened the game with 498 career attempts.

Prescott also already set the NFL record for most passes to start a career without an interception (176), passing Tom Brady, who went 162 throws without a pick for the Patriots in 2000-01.

He was intercepted twice in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.

Depleted secondary

The Cowboys were down to two cornerbacks for most of the second quarter and the entire second half.

Chidobe Awuzie, a second-round pick out of Colorado, exited with a hamstring injury. He had been expected to return but was downgraded to out early in the second quarter.

Later in the second quarter, the Cowboys lost veteran Nolan Carroll to a concussion after he took a shot to the head from teammate Jeff Heath.

The Cowboys went into the game with Orlando Scandrick ruled out due to a hand injury.

The Cowboys were in a precarious situation for the rest of the game with only Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis at cornerback. Rookie safety Xavier Woods was the emergency nickel.

The Cowboys had some position flex in their secondary as Byron Jones has played both cornerback and safety in his career.

The Cowboys had six wide receivers active for Sunday’s game, and opted to make cornerback Bene Benwikere a healthy scratch.

Lightning delay

Officials halted the game with 33 seconds left in the first quarter due to lightning in the area.

Rain began to fall on the second series of the game, right before the Broncos took a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Siemian to receiver Emmanuel Sanders at the 9:25 mark of the period.

The final play before the stoppage was an incomplete pass from Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to receiver Dez Bryant.

The delay was a little more than an hour.

Coaching calls

Coach Jason Garrett and his staff were peppered with questions this week about their goal-line play calls in the season opener against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys had a first-and-goal from the 3, and threw it three times without giving reigning NFL rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott a touch. They settled for a field goal.

Fast forward to Sunday in Denver and the Cowboys faced a similar situation early in the second quarter — a first-and-goal from the 3. The Cowboys handed off the ball to Elliott, who was stopped for no gain.

On second down, the Cowboys went into a shotgun formation and Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 3-yard score. Bryant had one-on-one coverage against All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib.

In the opener, Prescott had run-pass options on two downs and opted to pass it. Bryant was open, but Prescott simply was off target.