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Dak's Clutch Drive: Dallas Cowboys 20-17 Over Chargers is 'First Win of Many,' Says Prescott

“After everything that happened to us this week to be able to come out here and get a win, a road win, against a good team, is special,” Prescott said. “It’s a building block. It’s the first win of many. ...''

For the Dallas Cowboys, this was "The Week That Was.''

The Cowboys followed up a Week 1 loss at Tampa Bay - a game in which All-Pro guard Zack Martin was unavailable due to COVID - by ... moving receiver Michael Gallup to IR, seeing tackle La'el Collins go on suspension, adding defensive end Randy Gregory to the COVID list, sending assistant coach Leon Lett to the hospital for quad surgery, welcoming another ambulance to The Star to cart away swing tackle Ty Nsekhe and enduring surgery for defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence's broken foot.

Remind you of anything?

“Nah,'' said quarterback Dak Prescott on the eve of Sunday's Week 2 visit to the Los Angeles Chargers. "Everybody knows it’s going to be a different season,” he said. “We’re going to let that (2020's problems) be last year. We got different expectations, goals and perception of how this year is going to play out.”

Cowboys 20, Chargers 17, with Greg Zuerlein nailing an at-the-buzzer field goal to win it, and ... yup. Dak gets to be right.

In so many ways, this wasn't about "different''; this was about "deja vu.'' The Cowboys defense, hoping rookie linebacker Micah Parsons could be a force in a position switch to defensive end, was vulnerable on third-and-long to young Chargers QB Justin Herbert. The offense was creative, with Ezekiel Elliott sharing the ball-carrying load with Tony Pollard, who carried 13 times for 109 yards.

And the special-teams work, as has been the case around here for too many years, was ... "goofy.'' At least until Zuerlein's 56-yard winner, the result of a clutch QB Dak Prescott-led driver that sprays deodorant over some problems that shrink a bit as Dallas climbs to 1-1.

It can be argued that Prescott is developing a knack for this; the game-winning drive was the 17th in the fourth quarter or overtime that Prescott (23 of 27 for 237 yards) has engineered in his career.

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“That’s what you do it for,” said Prescott, who was 5 of 5 throwing on the final drive. “For the ball in your hands, for the chance to go win it. That’s why I was talking to the offense, telling them that. We talked about it all week long, and now we’ve got the game in a position that we want it, so it’s on us to go capitalize and go finish this game off.

“And we were able to get it in field-goal range and let special teams go out there and do their job.”

Additionally, given all the obstacles?

Said coach Mike McCarthy: “Give a lot of credit to Dan (defensive coordinator Quinn) and his staff, and most of all the players'' for the ability to make alterations on the fly.

NFL teams that start 0-2, over the course of the last 30-plus years, make the NFL playoffs just 10 percent of the time. It is not a number that is often overcome mathematically or psychologically.

Dallas avoids that fate here.

“To come in here and win this game was important for us on a number of fronts,'' said McCarthy, and he's right. It's the margin between "different'' and "deja vu.''

“After everything that happened to us this week to be able to come out here and get a win, a road win, against a good team, is special,” Prescott said. “It’s a building block. It’s the first win of many. ...''