Phoenix (AFP) – The Dallas Cowboys proved on Monday they can take a punch and deliver one too.
Dallas overcame a slow start but eventually looked like their old selves again, bouncing back from a crushing loss the week before to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 28-17 on Monday.
Dak Prescott threw for two touchdown passes and going airborne for another score as the Cowboys snapped a four-game losing skid to Arizona.
Dallas needed some good news after being humbled 42-17 by the Denver Broncos the week before.
“We showed the character of this team,” Prescott said. “Last week we got hit in the mouth pretty good. We did the things we needed to do to get the win tonight.”
Ezekiel Elliott finished with 80 yards and also ran for a touchdown as Dallas improved to 2-1 on the season. It was also a rebound performance for Elliott who had a career low eight yards against the Broncos.
In Monday’s victory, the Cowboys looked more like the team that went 13-3 last season and started 2017 off with lopsided 19-3 win over the New York Giants.
Prescott opened the scoring for the Cowboys with a just over a minute left in the first half by keeping the snap and running 10 yards before somersaulting into the end zone. Prescott got hit at the last second and launched into the air.
“I just told myself I had to jump in the air. I was hoping I didn’t helicopter so I was glad I went straight over,” he said.
Elliott capped the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run.
The score was tied 7-7 after two quarters that had the Cardinals lamenting the fact they weren’t ahead. Dallas gained just 57 total yards in the first half.
Before the game, the Cowboys and Cardinals added their voices to the wave of protests against racism and division across the United States as the players collectively took a knee.
– Jones takes a knee –
The Cowboys were joined by team owner Jerry Jones in kneeling down at mid-field, but they chose to do so before former “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem in front of a crowd of 65,100 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Cowboys said they wanted to take a knee as a statement of equality and a representation of unity but without protesting “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
A smattering of Arizona fans booed the Cowboys when they took a knee. As a further indication of just how divisive the issue has become, others cheered loudly when a giant US flag was unfurled and covered almost the entire pitch.
Sparks, an African American, also wanted to send a message of unity as she wrote on her left hand ’31:8-9′ — a Bible verse that reads: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
The Cardinals also locked arms during the anthem, but nobody appeared to take a knee or raise a clenched fist.
US President Donald Trump has been locked in a days-long feud with NFL players, owners and league officials over the symbolic protests aimed at drawing attention to racial injustice. On Friday, he called protesting players “sons of bitches” who should be fired.
Jones lives in the Republican stronghold of Texas and was one of seven NFL owners to donate to Trump’s inauguration.