Dak Prescott threw for four touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys used a big third quarter to pull away in a 36-28 victory against the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.
Ezekiel Elliott gained 143 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown as the Cowboys (3-1) won their third game in a row.
The outcome halted the best start to a season since 2015 for Carolina (3-1), which had extra time to prepare following its last game Sept. 23.
Prescott finished 14-for-22 for 188 yards.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, who ran for touchdowns from 1 and 11 yards, went 26-for-39 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was intercepted on consecutive third-quarter possessions as the Cowboys took control.
Darnold’s second touchdown throw to DJ Moore with 4:31 left gave the Panthers a chance, but they never got the ball back.
The Cowboys went ahead on their first possession of the second half when Prescott and Amari Cooper connected for a 35-yard touchdown play.
Just 3 1/2 minutes later, Prescott’s 6-yard pass to Dalton Schultz helped the Cowboys stretch the margin to 26-14, though a two-point conversion pass failed.
It was 33-14 after Prescott threw a 23-yard strike to Cedrick Wilson. Greg Zuerlein’s field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter expanded the lead.
Carolina didn’t respond until Darnold’s 6-yard scoring pass to Moore with 8:58 remaining.
The Panthers, playing their first full game this season without running back Christian McCaffrey (out with a hamstring injury), had 113 rushing yards. Dallas gained 245 yards on the ground.
Elliott opened the scoring on a 1-yard run. The Panthers pulled even when Darnold faked a pitch and ran 1 yard for a first-quarter touchdown.
Prescott threw to Blake Jarwin for an 18-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, but the Cowboys could not convert a two-point conversion, making it 13-7.
Darnold’s next touchdown run — combined with Zane Gonzalez’s extra-point kick — gave Carolina its first lead at 14-13 with 7:02 left in the second quarter.
–Field Level Media