So much for the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback controversy.
Get well Kellen Moore.
Nick Foles, enjoy your Kansas City barbecue
Josh McCown, stay in Cleveland.
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Michael Vick ... nevermind.
It appears that rookie fourth-round pick Dak Prescott has this thing handled.
More games must be played as well as many more practices, but the Cowboys couldn’t have asked for a better start in what was Prescott’s first outing as a NFL quarterback despite a 28-24 loss against the Los Angeles Rams in the preseason opener for both teams.
The Rams’ return to Los Angeles for the first time in 21 years, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the 89,140 at in the coliseum showed that this stage is not too big former Mississippi State star and maybe not the job as starter Tony Romo’s primary backup either.
Romo hasn’t played in preseason opener since 2012.
But Prescott was ready, completing 10 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He had a quarterback rating of 154.5 to lead the Cowboys to a 24-7 halftime lead.
The Rams rallied to win on a 9-yard pass from Sean Mannion to rookie running back Aaron Green of TCU.
“I thought Dak did a good job,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He had poise and composure. He ran the offense well. I thought he managed the game well and executed plays. He made some little plays and also made some big plays.”
Prescott’s only incompletions were two dropped passes by tight end Geoff Swaim.
Prescott’s start was delayed by receiver Lucky Whitehead’s electrifying 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game.
When the Cowboys got the ball back on offense, Prescott went to work and didn’t look back.
The offense began ominously with a drop from Swaim.
But Prescott followed with six consecutive completions, highlighted by an 18-yard shoulder throw to receiver Dez Bryant and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Bryant.
“I surprisingly wasn’t nervous,” Prescott said. “I didn’t know if that was bad or not, me not being nervous, but when you have great players around you, and you get to go out there with the ones, it makes the game a little easier.”
The touchdown was vintage Bryant, who showed that last year’s fractured foot, which cost him seven games, is in the past.
He leaped high over cornerback Coty Sensabaugh to make the catch and then reached ball across the end zone.
“It’s like practice,” Bryant said. “That’s exactly what we were doing in practice. Dak was delivering the ball to everyone. With him playing behind a great leader like Romo, he is going to learn a lot. He is doing outstanding.”
That was Bryant’s last play of the game, but Prescott was far from done.
He was two for two on his next drive, a 22-yard pass to Brice Butler followed by a perfect 32-yard strike to Terrance Williams for the touchdown.
Prescott’s next drive was stalled when running back Darius Jackson came up short on third and 1.
But the Cowboys defense quickly got the ball back to Prescott by intercepting No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff.
Former North Texas linebacker Derek Akunne hit Goff on a blitz, forcing the ball to pop up in the air. Linebacker Mark Nzeocho picked it of and returned it to the Rams 38-yard line.
This time Prescott faced adversity for the first time. He overcame another drop by Swaim with a first down pass to Devin Street.
However, the Cowboys were backed up by penalties.
Again an unfazed Prescott hit Street for 8 yards and then followed with a 14-yard scramble to set up a 44-yard field goal.
He showed poise and made good decisions.
The stage wasn’t too big.
Maybe not the backup job either.
“I think the best thing about Dak is that he is extremely calm,” Bryant said. “It’s like he’s been here before. He’s not playing like a rookie. He is going to be very good; he’s special.”