Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 272 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score to help lift the Cowboys to a 20-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday evening at SoFi Stadium.
Micah Parsons sacked Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert with just under two minutes to go on the final drive of the game and then provided a pressure on the very next play, forcing a rushed pass that resulted in a Stephon Gilmore interception off Herbert with 1:22 left to seal the Cowboys (4-2) win.
“It was a must win. There’s a big difference between 4-2 and 3-3,” said Prescott. “We talked after last week about not allowing this thing to landslide. When you get this win like we did, we can definitely move on.”
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen had seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown and scored on the opening drive of the game with a one-yard pass from Herbert on third-and-goal.
Prescott capped a nine-play 75-yard drive with an 18-yard rushing score that tied the game at 7-7 in the first and Brandon Aubrey converted a 32-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter.
“We had CeeDee (Lamb) in motion as an option. The defensive end took out Tony and two other guys ran toward [Lamb] just allowing me to cut up field,” said Prescott. “I have not been showing my legs early in the year so that might have played a part in it.”
“Dak did a lot of great things,” said Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, who finished with seven receptions for 117 yards. “He improvised a lot, gave us the ability to do our work down the field.”
Los Angeles running back Austin Ekeler returned to the lineup after missing three games with an ankle injury. He was unable to get in much of a rhythm with 14 carries for only 27 yards.
“I don’t think we ran the football very well at all today, plus there was a lot of pressure on the quarterback so you lose momentum when their rush kinda comes alive, that’s the strength of their team,” Staley said after his offense was held to 53 yards on the ground.
Cameron Dicker converted a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 10-10 but Prescott responded by connecting with Brandin Cooks for a 2-yard score with 11:19 left in the fourth to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead.
“I thought we were really good most of the night on third down. I thought we pressured the quarterback at a high level, but Dak made a couple of plays on that last drive, and it hurt us,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.
Herbert engineered a four-play 20-yard drive that ended with one-yard touchdown to Gerald Everett Los Angeles tied it at 17 with 7:11 remaining
Prescott used nearly five minutes of game clock to set up Aubrey for the go-ahead 39-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining to give the Cowboys a 20-17 lead.
The Chargers had one last chance but Herbert was sacked by Parsons and threw an interception to Gilmore resulting in a home loss for Los Angeles.
“We fell short, and I’ve got to make more plays as a quarterback,” said Herbert. “I missed a couple of receivers, threw some bad passes. There was a lot left out there, so there’s a lot to work on, and a lot to improve on.”
The Chargers will next travel to face the AFC West-leading Kansas Chiefs on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.